There was a period in my life when the Christmas / Yearend season was a time to dread, or at best, endure. Life wasn’t unfolding as I had imagined. I was lonely, dissatisfied … and mad at God as a result. I only saw what was missing and I concluded that he was a withholding God. Getting anything from him was like pulling teeth.
Nowadays, things are different. Since embarking on this journey of discovering the revelation of God as a Loving Father, I have growing clarity about the nature of God’s goodness. Above all else, he is a gracious, merciful, patient, loving, faithful, forgiving Father, who at the same time is no pushover! (See Exodus 34:5-7).
So, being more in touch with the Father’s unconditional acceptance, Christmas / Yearend has become a fun time for me. My wife, Elsie, and I get to reflect on what the Lord has done this past year, rather than what we imagine to be lacking in our lives. When we look at life this way, we become aware that God has blessed us with so much and we are deeply thankful! We have a wonderful marriage, great friendships, and an awesome church, to name a few. God has been so generous to us!
Of course, his supreme act of generosity has been the giving of his most precious and unique son, Jesus. This is how God loved the world: he gave his one and only son … (John 3:16).
The Eternal became an embryo, the Infinite became an infant. The Highest became human. The Creator took on creature-hood. The Invisible became visible. And the Baby held at Mary’s breast was the One who upholds the universe by his Breath. O, the glorious mystery of the Incarnation!
Jesus has come to shed light where the vision of our Father has been obscured by our brokenness and sin. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6)
Jesus puts a face on the God who is there. It’s a glorious, gorgeous face!
Dear Reader, this is the season of office parties, mall shopping (where you get mauled), cooking and baking, family gatherings, holiday traditions, gift-giving, Santas and elves and holiday movies. These are all wonderful activities potentially filled with joyful memories and family togetherness.
But I hope in the midst of it all you’ll make the time to focus on the generosity of our Father supremely demonstrated in the gift of Jesus. I hope you’ll take some time to reflect on your year, discerning and remembering where and how God has been at work in your life and on your behalf – in big and small ways.
Further, if you’ve never seriously looked, for yourself, at the claims that Jesus makes on your life I would really encourage you to do so. This is as good a time as any. Visit a local church this Sunday. Open the New Testament and start reading at the Gospel of John. Chat with a coworker or friend who you know is a follower of Jesus. Nothing may come of it, or something amazing might happen – you might discover the greatest gift of all!
Let hope, love, joy and peace be your portion in 2020. It’s time for a clear vision of Jesus!