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.
The 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 You! Psalm 84:11-12
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 Corinthians 1:20
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.
The night 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 will.
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.
Baby Jesus, deliver us, for we face a dreadful end.
Righteous Jesus, the sacrifice for each soul chained to the grave.
Christmas Jesus, unlikely cure the Father chose to send.
Abide with us, abide with us, our comforter and friend.
Eternal King who came to us a baby born to save.
Baby Jesus, remember us when you sit upon your throne.
Holy Jesus, you knew our ways and our crushing, fatal sting.
Christmas Jesus, a picture of our God in flesh and bone,
Remember us, remember us, and leave us not alone.
Redemption sings and darkness flees before our coming King.
In the name of the baby, amen. In the name of the King, amen and amen.