Christmas for the Weary

Christmas for the Weary



As I passed by each store, I saw white teeth smiling at me in frozen cheer from every window advertisement and I felt tired. I felt like I didn’t have it me. My heart and the world felt wretched and desperate with sin, and I could feel myself recoil from the happy product of Christmas.

In the Holy Spirit’s compassion and faithfulness, I heard a voice whisper, “Christmas is for you. Christmas is for the weary. The hope of Christmas is for the wretched and the desperate.”

The Bible tells us that Zechariah had doubted the Lord’s promises and was struck temporarily mute as a result. When the Lord restored his voice he broke out into prophesy about his son, John, the one who would prepare the way for the one who was bringing salvation.

Zechariah said,

 

“. . . because of the tender mercy of our God,

whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high

to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,

to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Luke 1:78-79

 

Christ the Redeemer was born to save the wretched and the desperate, the thief and the liar.

His birth dawned like a sunrise over a darkened world. He is the sunrise that pierced the darkness of the shadow of death.

This is Christmas. Do not let your doubt or weariness temporarily mute your worship.

Christmas is for you, weary Christian.

It’s for the parts of us that still feel the chill of the shadow of death.

May Christmas be our sacred reminder of God’s tender mercy that sent his Son from on high to give light to all who sit in darkness. Christ has come and his mercies rise with the sun each day to guide our blistered feet into the way of peace.

May each day’s sunrise remind you of the coming day when,

 

“No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need not light, lamp, or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.”

Revelation 22:3-5

 

And may it remind you of the coming day when,

 

“The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light; but the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.

Your sun shall no more go down, nor your moon withdraw itself; for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall be ended.”

Isaiah 60:19-20

 

So don’t wander to the false fluorescents of our cultures happy Christmas product.

You are craving the Life that is the light of men.

Turn your face to the light that shines in the darkness, for the darkness has not overcome Him.

 

Come thou long expected Jesus, born to set thy people free

From our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in thee

Lyrics Robert Robinson

 
tish circleTish is one of the counselors at Emmaus Counseling. She is married to Joshua and they have 2 children. Having grown up in a broken family, with addict parents, and an unstable home-life, Tish has experienced pain both of her own decisions and from the decisions of others. She has experienced the life-giving wholeness that comes through a combination of hope in Jesus and high-quality clinical counseling. It is her desire to help others find wholeness as well.

Beyond Survival

Beyond Survival

I did not know I was depressed until I got married. Over time I would see that depression had been present since I was a child. When I walked down the aisle ten years ago, I had never said the words out loud. I was ashamed of my depression, and in absolute denial.

After I came to Christ as a teenager and ventured into young adulthood I had more to fight than my own rebellious sin. There was a war I would fight against the effects sin had inflicted on my heart. My heart was diseased with lies and in pain. I was broken and sick from the pain of my experiences.

There was a war I would fight against the effects sin had inflicted on my heart.

The freedom God has graciously granted in my life in the area of depression is for another time and post. But as we live in this world that has been infected with sin, everyone experiences the crossfire of sin in different ways. The crossfire showed itself in my life through childhood trauma. I know what it’s like to feel left, scared, weak, and used. I know what it’s like to stuff and stuff the pain for years believing that survival was the bookend of those years. I know the condemnation that comes when you wonder why you keep struggling. “I must not love God enough?” “My faith is too weak.” “I need to pray more. Read the bible more. Be better. Be stronger.” It was my fault that I couldn’t fix it.

But as we live in this world that has been infected with sin, everyone experiences the crossfire of sin in different ways.

The heart is the well-spring of life. We are to guard it. What happens when the heart is trespassed by the sins of others and caught in the crossfire of sin in the world?

Recently one of our pastors preached on Hebrews 1:3b
“After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high..”

Christ made purifications for our sins then he sat down. My pastor explained that he sat down because the work of defeating death and sin had been accomplished. Jesus sitting down at the right hand of his father declared to every being in heaven and earth, “It is finished.”

I was struck by the hope and my heart cried out “YES!” There is hope as we overcome our sin and reflect Christ more and more accurately. But there is also hope as we face the brokenness caused by this sinful world and the captives living in it. Christ won against sin. He beat the power of sin. He wins over every way sin has played out in this world, and every way it is afflicting our minds and hearts.

I limped around for years spiritually, not able to even imagine myself without the sadness of my past. I looked to the return of Christ as the finish line, trying to simply survive in the mean time. I would grit my teeth and I would limp on, truly happy for the hope of eternity. I had befriended despair and did not recognize the prisoner I had become.

Christians, do not believe hopelessness in anything.

My obedience required going to counseling. It felt counter-intuitive to my preservation instincts to run towards the pain. But we can run towards the pain knowing it is hemmed in behind and before with the cross.

As we behold our Savior sitting down at the right hand of the Father on high, it is a call to pursue healing and wholeness in the land of the living. It is a reminder that there is hope for our pain today. There is present healing for our afflictions.

To our finite hearts and minds this can feel complicated and wearisome. It does not matter how intricately sin has been weaved into the fabric of our psyche and soul, the power of the cross is wise enough and strong enough to separate the truth from the lies and then to heal the torn bits of us the separation will cause.

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. Ps 43:5
O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me. Ps 30:2
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy. Ps 103:2-4
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Ps 147:3

tish circleTish is one of the counselors at Emmaus Counseling. She is married to Joshua and they have 2 children. Having grown up in a broken family, with addict parents, and an unstable home-life, Tish has experienced pain both of her own decisions and from the decisions of others. She has experienced the life-giving wholeness that comes through a combination of hope in Jesus and high-quality clinical counseling. It is her desire to help others find wholeness as well.

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