Father, it’s Christmas again. As always, it will visit
us and then fade quickly away. Only this year it arrives more welcome. Warm and
inviting. Soothing as a gold and magenta sunset that follows a day of bitter
rain. Familiar as home after a dreadful trek in an untried land. After a year proving
fierce and unmanageable, along comes Christmas to fill us with something right.
Not that Christmas has ever been unwelcome. Nor has it ever, nor is it now, the
answer to every problem or the correction to any sway of humanity. It’s a day
marked by believers to remember the Gift, but also borrowed by many for the
sake of tradition, or commerce, or entertainment. Now this year, we approach the
day with relief, and perhaps a longing sadness. For this Christmas is not quite
the same. The borrowed Christmas won’t meet our deepest hope. It’s only the
true Christmas—the one joyfully celebrating the Gift—that brings deliverance.
No, the day will not end our anguish, though for a
little while we may forget. But what Christmas represents is, indeed, the
answer to every problem and the correction to all that is wrong in this fleeting
world. And so, dear Lord, remind us of who you are and what you did for us when
you sent the Gift. The baby, God with us. The Savior. The Redeemer. The One
born into our world. Born to die. To live again. To return again, set things
right, and rule forever. This Christmas, Lord, remind us.
Will you always be with us? Of course, you will.
Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail
you or forsake you. Do not fear or
be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31:8
Will you care for us? Of course, you will.
Fear not, for I am with you; be not
dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will
uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
Will you provide? Of course, you will.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD gives grace
and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. O
LORD of hosts, How blessed is the man who trusts in
Will you keep your promises? Of course, you will.
For no matter how many promises God has
made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by
us to the glory of God. 2
Will you fulfill every word you have spoken? Of
course, you will.
…so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not
return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11
Will you end all suffering, heal every ailment, wipe
away every tear? Of course, you will.
He will wipe away every tear from their
eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying,
nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
Will you dispel the darkness? Of course, you will.
is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore, let us lay aside the deeds of
darkness and put on the armor of light. Romans 13:12
Will you come again just as you said? Of course, you
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I
will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. John 14:3
With illness, death, and unrest all around us and
inside us, we pray, Father in Heaven, for a deeper understanding of Christmas.
Not the day, the gathering, the feasting, not even the comfort of the familiar.
For next year, or the next, all may fade to relics of a past culture. But the
Gift will not be dismissed. Not by rulers and principalities, not by those who
borrow the day for their own advantage, not by the darkness. For the darkness
cannot hide the Light. For the Light of the world has come. And the coming of the
baby only precedes the coming of the King.
Jesus, deliver us, for we face a dreadful end.
Jesus, the sacrifice for each soul chained to the grave.
Jesus, unlikely cure the Father chose to send.
with us, abide with us, our comforter and friend.
King who came to us a baby born to save.
Jesus, remember us when you sit upon your throne.
Jesus, you knew our ways and our crushing, fatal sting.
Jesus, a picture of our God in flesh and bone,
us, remember us, and leave us not alone.
sings and darkness flees before our coming King.
the name of the baby, amen. In the name of the King, amen and amen.