Today read Psalm 65 and Isaiah 43:1-11
Well, here we are, the last week of our 40 Days and the week of Christmas. We will end on Friday, December 24, and wake up the next day to all of the joy, excitement, laughter, and fun of Christmas. Or…maybe we won’t. For some, there will be an empty seat at the table. For some, there will be no presents under the tree or even a tree. For a few that you are used to seeing at street corners, there will be no place to put a tree, even if they had one. That’s the thing about Christmas. It falls on the happy and the hurting, the bubbly and the broken.
For those, deeply wounded this Christmas, know that our thoughts and prayers are with you. More than that, know that Christmas is ESPECIALLY for you. The prophet Isaiah had you and Christmas in mind when God told him to write, “Do not fear for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name. You are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned.” Isaiah 43:2
There is a family that Doris and I love that lost their husband and father just about a month ago. The Christmas Baby is with them. There is a guy that I care about that moved out of his house last week, leaving behind his wife and kids. The Messiah is with them, and him. There is a pastor that is struggling to get over COVID and back in the pulpit; there is a businessman that just lost his biggest customer; there is a young adult lady who is trying to navigate the first Christmas with divorced parents; for all of these the Savior of the World, Emmanuel is with them.
And for you, when you rip open presents, eat too much ham, laugh at silly family games, and video the grandkids on Christmas morning, God is with you. He weeps when we weep and rejoices when we rejoice. And we should do the same.
Take some time this Christmas week to send a card to a family that is hurting, to take somebody to lunch that is going through the fire, to slow down and drop a few bucks in the beggar’s bucket on the side of the road. Maybe, before you start the frantic, frenzied fun of Christmas morning, you stop, and with your family, pray for families that are neck-deep in the waters of grief, pain, and loss this year. And thank God that He is there with them and there with you.
This week’s prayer: May the Christ of the Manger, Who is also the God Who is with us I the fire, grant that we know His joy this Christmas week. And may we then take that joy to others who need it.
Program notes: 😊 I am posting a brief video this Monday and next that may help you end this year well and turn your hearts toward the most Christ-centered and productive year yet. On January 1, I am going to begin a 31 Day Spiritual Jump Start. I’ll figure out what that means by the end of this week but it will be a month to rekindle our Christian Disciplines, prayer, Bible reading, fasting, etc. The next 40 Day Adventure will begin March 2, the beginning of Lent.