Saturday, December 22, 2012

this Christmas

This Christmas the significance of the Incarnation seems more potent. I have always loved Christmas - the music, the focus on Christ, the family gatherings, the food, the smells, the lights, the traditions and memories. Some years I've found it hard to really grasp afresh the amazing reality that Christ took on flesh - became man to redeem us. It's - ho-hum, heard it before, I'm going to try really hard to work up emotion about this - type thing.

This Christmas God is using my grief over Lynne's death to show me the importance of the Incarnation. Grief is a strange thing - it seems to dissipate and then when you least expect it it bowls you over. Death is an enemy, a defeated enemy, but an enemy still. It is so wrong, so not what we were made to experience. Grieving over the loss of one of my closest friends and grieving Lynne with her family -  whose loss makes mine pale in comparison - has made me realize that Jesus' coming was an amazing mercy to our broken world.

All this death, sin, brokenness, hurt, pain, dysfunction was what we deserved. We were given a gift in Eden and we chose our own way. How short sighted we as humans are. We thought we were getting something amazing and then sin wormed it's way into every facet of our life and our entire planet became broken. We became broken.

Jesus didn't have to come. Didn't have to humble himself, didn't have to become poor, didn't have to love us. The Father didn't have to send His Son - have to punish Him. But He did.

And that makes all the difference in my grief. This Christmas I see the baby born in the stable and it's like a powerful surge of meaning runs through me. This Child is the fulfillment of God's plan and the only hope we have. I can't worship this Christmas without seeing the Cross ... it's a short few steps away from the stable and there death was defeated.

Lynne knew this and is now rejoicing with Jesus. Her Christmas is being spent with Immanuel - worshiping Him in a way that we can't even imagine.

This Christmas my heart hurts, we're still here in the brokenness. But I have hope - because the Light of the world, the Word made flesh, the Prince of Peace, Immanuel came. This Christmas I'm grasping the reality that I can celebrate this regardless of what circumstances come into my life. Christmas is not for the light-hearted only. It's perhaps even more for those who are broken hearted, whose lives are shattered.

Behold your God in the manger.

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