by Nan Jones @NanJonesAuthor
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,
Jack Frost nipping at your nose …
Things have a way of coming full circle, don’t they? Christmas, I mean.
It always comes. Never fails. And all those hopes and dreams loom in the distance inching ever closer to be faced with either exuberant celebration or devastating disappointment. Our striving for perfection smacks us in the face and blinds us to the very gift Christmas affords — His hope.
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This is not what God had in mind, is it?
He never asked us to hang our hats on the promises the world gives. He never once told us that He was wrapped in sequined swaddling cloths beneath magical lights twinkling to the rhythm of the ka-ching in a nearby cash register.
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That was not God’s plan.
Nor His promise of hope.
His promise lay in swaddling cloths in the quiet of a lowly stable. He was soothed to sleep by the baaing of the sheep and the soft crunch of straw. God’s promise made the hearts of grown men melt with adoration, trying to grasp the wonder of it all — the fulfillment of Scripture before their eyes.
I can only imagine what that night was like when Christ was born.
I think when the angels lit up the night sky with their glorious strains of worship, they had no idea that two-thousand years later their hallelujahs would be drowned out by a noisy, chaotic celebration that magnifies depression and loneliness, and stresses us with unrealistic expectations.
God’s gift was His promise to set the captives free.
His promise came to heal the brokenhearted, give beauty for ashes and joy for mourning.
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God’s promise of Christmas came that we might know Him and IN Him find the abundant life we all yearn for — peace, joy, love, hope — those things money can’t buy.
The world tells us that’s not enough — we’re not enough with its ka-ching of the cash register and bling on every doorstep.
But the Lord our God tells us we are His own, His special treasure, the apple of His eye. Our worth is not measured in dollar and cents — our worth is measured by the depths of His love.
Are you struggling with unrealistic expectations this Christmas? Broken dreams? The sorrow of loss? Do you feel as though your imperfect Christmas won’t measure up?
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Sweet friend, you are not alone in the difficult place. The Lord your God is with you. Just as He promised, He is near to the brokenhearted and to those crushed in spirit. He is our peace in the storm, our joy in the sorrow.
Our hope in the despair.
The beauty of Christmas — the promise of Christmas — is found in the quiet of a sacred moment beneath a starlit sky when God sent His son to dwell among us that we might know Him.
Immanuel. God with us.
He is with us, especially in the difficult places.
It’s the promise of Christmas.
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