We probably all recall times when we were comforted by the presence of others. Particularly vivid may be when as children we were afraid of the unknown, or a new stage in our life when we were reassured by a parent saying, “Don’t worry, I’ll be with you.” I remember the first day of nursery school being like that for instance.
On other occasions we can no doubt think of circumstances when apprehensive loneliness clouded our vision and we yearned for the comfort of someone we trusted. Someone to talk to, share the journey with, and perhaps to help allay our fears or nervous trepidation.
We are created as social beings – companionship is the taproot of our hearts and spirits. It’s why isolation and fierce independence or emotional self-reliance is an absolute give away that all is not right within us. We are designed to live best with open hearts. Unfortunately life in a fallen world has a way of causing us to play safe and withdraw in a manner often so subtle that we fail to notice how closed and disengaged we become.
The good news is that Christmas at its best and deepest is about a God who enters our fallen world to counteract the rampant heart disease so prevalent among us. He comes from heaven with an open heart and open arms releasing massive doses of hope, encouragement, healing, love and acceptance. “Fear not, I am with you,” he whispers to our infant hearts beating inside clam shells -. “I’ve come to be with you forever, on earth as in heaven.” But trust once lost is hard to find.
The Good News is that God is good, kind, generous, forgiving, and for us not against us. It’s a revelation almost impossible for us to grasp, as every word uttered within our context of living has become diminished and distorted with conditions and strings attached to them. They need to be rediscovered, renewed, and re-spoken. Which is why God’s ‘Word’ became flesh in the unique person of Jesus.
In contemporary lingo Jesus is a human being who’s received a brand new hard drive, de-bugged and de cluttered. No-one’s ever seen anyone like him before. Human beings change when they allow themselves to be impacted by Jesus and decide to embark on a journey of rediscovery and restoration. The shepherds responded to an astounding angelic appearance in their field one cold winter’s night – they were terrified but went to find out who the baby was anyway. The wise men followed a star to the stable in Bethlehem by embracing the mystery that challenged their paradigms and pursuing it with passion despite inconvenience.
Two Thousand years later God continues to reveal himself through the Bible, through the testimony of others, through the broken cries of our hearts, through history and the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. If we choose to get up and follow we may too discover a gift and revelation beyond our comprehension.
My prayer this Christmas is that we will respond to God the Father’s initiative and that we’ll never feel isolated, alone, unloved, or without hope again.
But don’t take my word for it, believe his! Oh shucks 🙂