When I showed up at her door with muffins, I had no idea how sick she had become or how short her precipitous decline would be. In hindsight, I’m grateful for the memory of that last visit with a friend, with her flitting between table and kitchen counter and me working hard to absorb the sad truth my eyes were sending to my brain.
In-person visits were always my friend’s love language, and maybe that’s true of us all. After all, time and space limit us to just-one-place-at-a-time living–this place, those people. It feels significant to be chosen, to receive the gift of presence.
The gift of presence is the incredible Why behind Christmas. God, utterly separate from us in nature, came near. We could never have constructed a ladder or a thought process or a code of conduct sufficient to bridge the gap between God and humanity.
So he did it.
Taking the initiative in every way, God came to us, became like us, took on the only form we could understand–human flesh and blood, muscle and bone. He chose confinement, vulnerability, limitation, and, ultimately, death.
If your present circumstances have you careening into the Christmas season feeling detached from the merriment and wondering what all the fuss is about, why not take one step back from the holly-jolly holiday side of the season and ponder the reality of a God who has experienced pain? German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote from a Nazi prison camp his own well-researched conclusion:
Only a Suffering God can help.”
Scripture’s startling assertion that somehow the Son of God “learned obedience” through his suffering reminds me that I may have a thing or two to learn from the same teacher. And yet it’s not a process I ever welcome.
The writer of Hebrews was walking the same tightrope we have all walked (at varying heights) in 2021. Even with the realization that Jesus came to rule and reign, it’s apparent that “we do not yet see all things put under him” (Hebrews 2:8). Even so, he presses on to a clear view which changes everything:
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.Hebrews 2:9
Christmas plans may be canceled, convoluted, or cut off at the root… but we see Jesus.
A tight budget limits or even stifles gift-giving… but we see Jesus.
Relational dysfunction makes the family gathering a thing to dread… but we see Jesus who has tasted sorrow because he became one of us, lived, and died as one of us.
Let him carry your load of frustration, disappointment, or fear throughout this Advent season. Open your heart to the help of a God who understands suffering.
Holding You in the Light,
Scripture’s startling assertion that somehow Jesus “learned obedience” through his suffering reminds me that I may have a thing or two to learn from the same teacher. And yet it’s not a process I ever welcome.Tweet
It’s Not too Late to Begin Your Celebration of the Light this Advent Season
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