Merry Christmas, blog readers. Today is the day where all our hopes are realized and all our fears are met with the answer of the ages. Jesus is born. Immanuel has come.
But still we look around and realize that we are in the already but not yet. The Lord has come, and yet we are still waiting.
I know today some of you are feeling more like you’re in the waiting than the joy.
Perhaps there’s an empty chair at your table—an absent husband, a prodigal, a baby that was lost.
Perhaps you’re waiting for that husband God hasn’t brought or you’re feeling a lack of joy because the bank account didn’t allow for gifts this year.
Maybe the lights make you more acutely feel the inner darkness weighing you down, or the energy of the neighborhood children in the snow reminds you of physical weakness from age or illness.
Maybe Christmas carols bring nothing but tears of remembering what once was.
Friend, no matter your fears, pain, longings, or sorrows, the True Hope of Christmas is for you.
Read these words of joy from 1 John 4:9–10:
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Beloved, Jesus, the Word made flesh, is God’s message of hope to you today. He comes to bring you salvation and true eternal life—and points you to our blessed hope, His glorious future appearing.
Take heart! This Jesus comes to make all things new. He will one day set foot again on this earth, ushering in His kingdom and a restored heaven and earth where there will be no more tears, death, or any pain. That is our True Hope.
Though this day may seem sorrowful, look at today’s small pinpricks of joy as pointers to our future joy, when our sorrow will be swept away for the eternal Christmas. Then Jesus will be evermore, in all senses our Immanuel—God with us.
To help you rest in this, I want to leave you with a poem by my friend Elizabeth Sunshine. She’s an Old Testament theologian who loves to express truth through poetry. Her words really capture what many of us feel at Christmas, while pointing us to the True Hope we need every day.
Child of Heaven
Children of Earth await the child of Heaven
Throughout a thousand thousand empty years.
The mountains’ weight is piled on their shoulders.
The ocean’s waves are salted with their tears,
But in the dark, a single candle shining,
Proclaims, “God comes to banish all your fears.”
The child of Heaven without an earthly father
Within a virgin’s womb enfolded sleeps.
While fragile flesh enfolds eternal spirit,
His loving mother patient vigil keeps.
May we as well, courageously submitting,
Yield ourselves to the father’s love so deep.
Now as we hear the child of Heaven approaching
We leap for joy to honor Earth’s true king.
A barren woman pregnant with His herald,
From frozen ground, hope’s tender bud shall spring
He lifts the poor while casting down the mighty
Ashamed no more, His humble servants sing.
On Earth’s bare planes, a voice of heavenly power
Tells poor and powerless shepherds not to fear.
Their awestruck eyes behold bright hosts in glory,
While songs of worship echo in each ear.
At peace, Creation joins the holy chorus;
To make Earth whole, the child of Heaven is here.
And here’s a blessing from me and our entire blog team:
May all the blessings of Christmas be yours today, both without and within. May the child of heaven, Immanuel, take up residence anew in your heart and give you true joy inexpressible and full of glory. May you find hope in knowing that He will continue the work He is doing in you, your loved ones, and the world around us. May you be able to celebrate, for He is truly making all things new. May God’s peace be with you and those you love in the name of Jesus Christ, our True Hope.