Thursday, December 20, 2012

Joyful Christmas

I know a few of you have already read this, since I included it in my Christmas letter. But my mom encouraged me to go ahead and post it here anyway.

I know how challenging this time of year can be. I hope and pray these thoughts will encourage you today. 

May you have a truly Joyful Christmas! 

Sorrow & Joy -

I've been thinking about the strange coexistence of sorrow and joy in this life. 

We think of Christmas as a happy time. Yet for many people this Christmas will be anything but happy. And I think we've all experienced Christmases that were less than "merry." Even the first Christmas was not without sadness.

Luke 2:33-35 says, The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about Him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, His mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel...And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” 
The first Christmas was a joyful time, as angels sang and shepherds worshipped. Mary and Joseph marveled at this special event. 

And yet, Jesus' birth was also greeted with this painful prophesy of His future. The child's life would not be one of ease and comfort. And Mary's own heart would be pierced with grief.

The joy of Christmas was in a sense shadowed by the sorrow of the cross. Yes, the Savior had come, but He came to die. 

At the same time, for those of us who know the whole story, the sorrow of the cross pales in light of Jesus' resurrection! 

After the most painful sorrow, Mary experienced (I believe) the greatest joy! The joy of seeing her son raised to life must have eclipsed even the joy of giving Him birth.

And that same joy is ours today! Regardless of whatever sorrows we experience, the glory of the resurrection is even greater! 

The resurrection tells us that there is more than just this life. 
It reminds us that in the end God's goodness will fully triumph over evil. 
And it assures us that the God who loved us enough to die for us, is WITH us through every moment.

So even if this isn't a very merry Christmas for you, I pray it will be a truly Joyful Christmas!

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