BY KAYLYN LANIER
How is it already time for Christmas? Not that I am complaining AT ALL—I am a Christmas girl all year long. But oh, what a year this has been. Last December, no one could have predicted what these months would hold. We were forced to journey an un-seeable path together and navigate one new experience after another. But I feel like more than one someone just needs to hear me say: YOU MADE IT! WE made it! We are here.
I love so many things about Christmas. I could spend hours listing them all. (Seriously, try me sometime!) But this year more than ever, we NEED Christmas. I’m not talking about the crazy check-out lines, the never-ending to-do lists, the overflowing holiday activities calendar…I’m sure you can fill in even more! We need this time to celebrate, to breathe, to rejoice.
I don’t know the details of your year. We’ve all navigated situations we could have never imagined. Maybe you lost a loved one this year. Maybe you welcomed a new baby. Maybe your family broke apart. Maybe your family came together in reconciliation. Maybe you lost your job. Maybe you got a new job. The “maybes” are endless.
Regardless, your life has changed. My life has changed. The world has changed. But one thing has never changed: The God of Heaven! He is forever seated on His Throne, and not only that…He chose to be here, with us! That is what this entire season is about, this HOPE. For centuries, prophets foretold the coming of Messiah, the One who would change everything. And guess what? He came! He really came, and the world has never been the same.
During this season, we celebrate not only His birth, but we celebrate His Promises fulfilled. For generations, people wondered when this Messiah would finally come. They surely felt as if they were always in the waiting, in the in-between, in the process. How many of us could echo that sentiment this year? Can we just get to other side of this? Can we just find something certain to hold on to? Can we get just a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel?
No matter what changes around us, this is certain: He is Emmanuel, which means “God with us.” Do we really get that? The Maker of all things, the One who is not only the Everlasting Father but also the Father of Everlasting, chooses to be here with you and me. Maybe this year you felt at times that He must be a thousand miles away. But I promise you with the fullest assurance that He has never left you. He came, and He is here. He came for the world; but if He’d had to, He would still have done it all just for YOU!
This year, may it be as the hymn says, “the weary world rejoices.” I pray Hope is awakened in you this Christmas. I pray that this God of Shalom—Peace—overwhelms you. I pray that His unshakeable, immovable Joy radiates throughout your days. I pray this Love of the I AM God silences every fear and doubt.
“Rejoice, Rejoice, Emmanuel!” God is with us!