"Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him,
and took unto him his wife:
And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son:
and he called his name JESUS."
As we gather together to enjoy and savor the Lord's blessings and most precious Gift of all,
my mind goes to those who are hurting, sad, brokenhearted, depressed, wounded, without hope,
those who have bodies racked with pain and disease,
those who are in the midst of the disillusionment and heartbreak of marital separation and divorce,
those who are facing the uncertainties of upcoming medical tests and surgeries,
those who have lost loved ones this year and who are facing their first Christmas without them,
those who will face empty spots at festive tables...stark reminders of the ones who are missing,
those who have beloved ones across the sea, absent because they are selflessly protecting our liberties,
those whose parents are elderly, failing, and soon to say good-bye,
those whose wombs are infertile, whose arms are empty,
those who fold tiny hands every night, begging God for a forever home,
those in nursing homes who will not see one person they recognize this Christmas,
those who wouldn't recognize a loved one should they decide to take the time to visit,
those who are homeless, freezing in winter's wind, stomach empty and heart sick,
those who would give anything they own just to be able to go back and do things over...
to take back those angry, hurtful words....to visit that sad, lonely mother, now long-gone....
to say I love you one more time...
to say I'm sorry....and who will never have another chance,
those who cry...bitter, salt-filled tears, as they hide in corners, fearing the sound of drunken footsteps,
those who see no reason to face one more day,
those who have lost their faculties and are no longer capable of facing life independently,
those who are confined, imprisoned, and scorned, filled with remorse over crimes they wish they could undo,
Mamas and Daddies of the wayward and rebellious, who yearn to hold them once more,
Mamas and Daddies who wish they had done things differently,
animals who are hungry, cold, abandoned, and alone.
Not everyone is merry on Christmas.
To many, Christmas can be a very sad time...
a painful and hurtful reminder of all they have lost or never had.
"Life itself is a battlefield, and we're all facing some kind of war."
That is the express reason Jesus came, my friend.
This is what Christmas is truly all about.
"to preach good tidings unto the meek;
to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all that mourn;
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion,
to give unto them beauty for ashes,
the oil of joy for mourning,
the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness..."
To those who are struggling today,
the true message of Christmas is for you.
A God Who can cause His Spirit to overshadow the womb of a virgin,
place the seed that would become His Son within her,
bring Him into the world through natural childbirth,
and present Him to the world....His ultimate gift.....
can do anything, my friend.
He is the God of miracles.
The God of impossibilities.
The God of supernatural abilities to transform, renew, and make whole.
Nothing is too hard for Him.
He can open wombs, restore marriages, fill lonely hearts, heal diseased bodies,
extend life, mend brokenness, comfort grieving spirits, protect the defenseless,
remove the sting of regret, place the solitary in families, bind the power of addiction,
set captives free, give second chances...and third...and fourth....and as many as are needed,
bring wanderers back into the fold...and back home again,
and give the gift of hope to all who need it.
God is bigger than any problem.
He is sovereign over all.
His power is unlimited.
His strength is undiminished.
All we have to do is open our heart, accept the precious gift of the true meaning of Christmas....
the Gift He sent all the way from Heaven to earth....
just for us.
The Gift Mary wrapped and laid in a manger that first Christmas night.
May the dear Lord bless every, single one of you this Christmas.
May He supply every need, comfort every hurting heart,
and may you know how very loved and appreciated you are.
Our love to each one of you,
Kevin, Cheryl, and Zachary