(The following appears in today’s copy of the Sheridan Reporter)
The holidays abound with many good and joyful things. However, within those festivities can be many unspeakable pains. Family and friends gathering together for a joyous occasion can unthinkingly speak things that are wounding to the spirit and the soul. We can be celebrating Christmas for the first time without that special loved one by our side. Life can be dealing us a devastating blow. Christmas can be hard. But take heart my dear friends, because God is the God of all comfort. The baby in swaddling clothes that we flock to see in the manger is the Prince of Peace; He is Immanuel, which means God with us. The Word of God has proclaimed throughout the entire world to all the people of the world that He will never leave us or forsake us. We may feel as though we have not a friend in this world, no one to whom we can run to and confide. Yet, nothing could be farther from the truth; because we have the God of all truth living inside each and every one of us who have believed with their heart and have been justified and have confessed with their mouth and have been saved. Even when you feel hopeless and alone, you are NEVER truly hopeless and alone, because He is also the God of all hope who is always with you. There is a light, the Light of the world that can not be stopped, a lamp on a stand that can not be put out. There is a savior who overcame this world of darkness and brought with Him light and love and peace and hope and goodness. And He came without honor, He came without crown or robe or even a bed. He came as a babe, humble and helpless, pure and lovely. The Word of God came and couldn’t talk. The One who said “follow me” came and couldn’t walk. He came, and He conquered all our fears.
While the festivities of the holidays bring many emotions and chaos, the reason that we celebrate brings peace and joy. In the midst of the pain that life can, and probably has brought to us all this year. Let us take this season and allow the Light to come and fill us with His peace and joy and love. Let’s let His perfect childlike love cast out our fears of loss, rejection and hardship. There is a new year, a new start, and a new beginning dawning. And it is dawning, not with a ball dropping, but with a child crying out to all the world that Jesus saves. God with us saves! He saves “everyone [who] has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past; for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-26 NLT)
Jesus is the reason for this season. Jesus is the reason for EVERY season. And Jesus is the reason that nothing is impossible with God! Merry CHRISTmas Sheridan! Let your little lights shine!