Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased (Luke 2:14 ESV)!
Friend to Friend
Twinkling lights dance in unexpected places and bounce off sparkling trees. Whether you appreciate gold and glitter or simple candles, the blessing of our Lord’s birth is celebrated with expression! What a beautiful time of year has arrived!
While Christmas is full of joy and celebration, the world is not exempt from sorrow during this season. For many of us, our hurting hearts experience intensified ache as memories flood our minds. Whether thoughts of a loved one now in heaven or painful circumstances of the present, the Christmas season often ushers in a wish for things to be different. Sometimes it’s not a present pain, but the ache of a painful past escorted in afresh.
Discouragement doesn’t stop lurking at Christmas. Disease doesn’t stop waging its war. Death doesn’t pause for a few days. What does “Joy to the World'' really look like?
That first Christmas appeared much different than today’s exuberant celebrations. When Jesus was born, His parents didn’t plan a gender reveal party. No one ordered a baby shower cake. Oh, Mary, yes, as the mother, she prepared for the arrival of her baby. But a business trip for tax purposes was probably the last thing on her agenda. Riding a donkey most likely would have been her last wish in her ninth month of pregnancy.
The point is, Jesus wasn’t born into ideal circumstances. Despite the unsuitable stable, the Light of the World made His grand entrance in the form of a little baby. Human flesh held the Son of God and the glory of the night could not be contained. Angels sang their glory to God and hope, true Hope for the world was born! THIS is the joy of Christmas!
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased! (Luke 2:14 ESV)
At ages 3 and 4, my daughter, Taylor, unwrapped her Christmas gifts with exuberance. Though diagnosed with a rare terminal disease, she brought so much joy everywhere she went. Her pigtails and giggles were the perfect bubbly match. Gradually she lost skill after skill from speaking to singing to feeding herself. Her smiles grew scarce, and her pain became more evident year after year. She fought to perform daily essential activities like walking, chewing and swallowing. And then she stopped unwrapping gifts. It’s been almost three years since my Taylor lost her battle with disease but won the war and stepped into heaven’s eternal light.
Our family will never forget the glorious gift she was to us, but we also find joy in God’s plan as the best plan for her life. Daily we’re hanging on to the hope of heaven, Jesus. Although the twinkling lights of this season please the eye, they truly serve as reminders that God gave His Son to be the Light of the World. One day, all will be right again. Until then, there is peace available to us in His presence.
Regardless of the trials you face during the Christmas season, the gift you need the most is the One who longs to live in your heart. No matter the ache or the longing, the sorrow or the suffering, the birth of Jesus brought hope and healing to the entire world. For this, we can celebrate with JOY!
“So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy” (John 16:22 NLT).
Father, thank You for loving us so much that You gave Your one and only Son. Jesus, You are our hope and joy. We bring You glory because You brought us peace. May we rejoice anew today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Where have you discovered joy in hard spaces this season? Share them in the comments!
More from the Girlfriends
Do you know someone who could use a gift of joy? Send them a set of Rachel’s Beautiful 31 Days of Prayers for the Heart prayer cards. When you can’t find the words to pray or simply need prayer reminders to beautify your heart and your home, this set of cards will usher in peace and joy.
© 2021 by Rachel Wojo. All rights reserved.
Kim, Rachel thought this should run the first week of December because of the wording she used in the More From the Girlfriends section. She said we could change that wording if we needed to.