December 10, 2018
’Tis the Season
’Tis the season to be jolly…fa la la la la la-la la la…
It’s the Christmas season, and everywhere you look, it’s hard to miss it. The radio has been blasting Bing Crosby, and Mariah Carey has been letting us know what she wants for Christmas since before Thanksgiving. Starbucks is handing out their holiday cups (don’t worry, this year they are wildly festive). Every store you enter is decorated top to bottom with garlands, twinkling lights, and Santa Claus displays, reminding us that, indeed, Christmastime is near.
’Tis the season.
Somehow, the season of jolly and merry, stockings and presents, becomes the season of overwhelmed. The season of credit card bills and long lines and Black Friday mobs in your local Walmart. It’s the season where you feel blessed for what you have, but what feels like a spotlight on the things that you lack.
’Tis the season.
The leading up to Christmas can feel wonderful, and it can feel chaotic. It can feel joyful, and it can also feel sorrowful. It’s the season of paradox.
But, then again, didn’t it all start as a great paradox?
The first Christmas was not necessarily the jolly night that our children’s story Bibles make it out to be. Consider:
The angel came to Mary to tell her he had good news of great joy—she was to be the mother of the Messiah. Yet, she was a young, unmarried virgin. The King of Kings would be born scandalized from the beginning of his life.
Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem, where Jesus would be born. But, instead of being welcomed into a palace or home worthy of a king, Jesus was born in a humble stable and had to sleep in a feeding trough. Instead of being surrounded by dignitaries and royalty, he was surrounded by farm animals.
While the birth of most kings would typically first be announced to those of most importance, the very first announcement of Jesus’ birth would be made to lowly shepherds working in the fields.
One of the names given to the coming Messiah was “Emmanuel” which means “God with us”; yet another paradox. The idea that God would humble himself to become a man and live and breathe among us is one of the most unexpected things about Jesus.
Nothing about Jesus’ birth is what people expected it to be.
Nothing about His life is what people anticipated.
Jesus’ birth is about more than presents, holiday traditions, and even tiny mangers. Jesus’ birth is a reminder that God came down to meet us in our greatest need and be with us. He is our hope. He is our peace. He is our joy.
The Good News of the season of Christmas is that it doesn’t matter who you are. It doesn’t matter what you have. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or where you come from. Jesus came for all of us. And that’s the beauty of the Christmas season.
So, what is there to do in this season that feels almost like a paradox of emotion?
How do we take the good with the bad?
The sad with the merry?
The bright with the gloom?
If you find yourself caught in this paradox in this season, if you are balancing the tension of joy and sorrow, remember Emmanuel. Remember that God came to us, in the lowliest way, and offered us Him. He offered us Life. He offered us relationship. He offered to be with us no matter what.
To hear more of the Christmas story this year, join us for “A Cornerstone Christmas” on Saturday, December 22 at 5:00 and 6:30 and Sunday, December 23 at 9:00, 10:30, and 12:00. Click here for more info: http://go2cornerstone.com/christmas.
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