Friday, December 21, 2012

The Reality of Christmas

The movies make it look so perfect. But it's not always a wonderful life. More often than not, there will be no miracle on 34th Street. And sometimes you will shoot your eye out.

Christmas. We want it to be perfect. But it is often filled with family strain. It can magnify the hopelessness that comes with the loss of loved ones. And it is a time that many feel the pain of broken dreams. That might seem gloomy, but most people recognize it as reality. After all, it is the way the story started.

Recently, I was studying the lives of Mary and Joseph. You have probably heard of them. They were engaged to be married when God stepped in and changed their plans forever. Mary ends up pregnant. Joseph thinks she cheated on him. But the truth is that while she is still a virgin, she is now carrying the Son of God in her womb.

We know as we read the story (Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38) that sometimes things do not work out the way we think or plan. I can imagine that Mary could not wait for her perfect wedding day. I would assume that Joseph had plans that did not include raising a son that was not his own. Neither of them would have desired the shame and humiliation that would have come with Mary's pregnancy before their wedding day. And for sure, Mary would not have imagined giving birth to her firstborn son in a strange city. But God had a much larger plan.

Maybe we need the black days in our life in order to appreciate the white Christmas. While God had changed their plans, it was for their good. In their disappointment comes the birth of the Savior. Jesus enters humanity through less than perfect circumstances in order to give hope to the hopeless. He comes to restore the broken. In His birth, we see a glimpse of salvation.

He came to redeem sinners, even Joseph and Mary. Think of that. Their plans were radically changed and the result? Their salvation. It is the same salvation that is offered to you today through the birth of that same child.

Whatever circumstances you find yourself in this Christmas, I pray for perspective. I pray that you would get a glimpse of the baby Jesus who grew up to be a perfect Savior. It is only in Him that the imperfect becomes perfect. Only through the cross will you find the miracle that really matters. And He alone will give sight to the blind. I pray you would trust Him today.

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I frequently get asked to write for a local newspaper called the Middlefield Post. This is a recent article that I wrote for them, which can be found on page 11 HERE.

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