Following is a guest post from Jim Mullen.
I am just thinking….about Christmas. Trying to think what it must have been like over 2000 years ago on that very first Christmas Eve.
In the distance, moving ever so slowly, barely visible by the moonlight is an exhausted young man walking in front of a donkey bearing it’s precious cargo – his teenage bride and their soon-to-be-born son. He is near total exhaustion from his long arduous journey. Mary is not much better as she has been bearing her own burden while making most of the trip on the donkey’s back. They appear as two refugees – dirty, bone-tired and, quite frankly, confused. And then to add to their troubles there is no decent lodging available as the birth pangs begin. The babe, God in human flesh, the King of Kings is soon born to this unlikely couple. How did they feel? Tired? Hungry? Afraid? Perplexed? All of these along with countless other emotions?
Where is Christmas, as we know it in this story? Where are the mountains of brightly wrapped presents? Where are the dishes and bowls of candies, cookies and fruit? Where are the mounds of freshly baked goods? Where is the table groaning under the weight of the feast to be consumed? Where are the ribbons, bows and aromatic, beautifully displayed decorations?
This first Christmas was not like most of us picture the holiday today. It was real. They were tired, dirty, weary, afraid and confused. They were full of questions begging for answers.
That is what Christmas is like for far too many today. Christmas is not like the slick Christmas TV specials and the beautiful idyllic Christmas cards portray it. Far too many people are lonely, afraid, confused, hurting, sad and even angry.
But then that is what Christmas is really all about. Jesus coming as one of us! Not as the God of the Universe but as a simple baby. Vulnerable…frail…needy…human! He came this way to show us that He understands. He has felt our emotions and weaknesses. And yet He did it without sin so He could pay our sin debt. He is the only one who could. And, He knows our name. He knows all about us. He knows our weaknesses, our shortcomings, our fears, our failures and our sins. And yet He loves us. So much so that He does not want to live without us. So…He died so we could live with Him! He actually wants to be with us and help us struggle well with life.
This Christmas may we remember that it is about Jesus and His love for us. And may we take some time to extend that love to those around us who do not have the luxuries that many of us enjoy. Lets look for those who are suffering and afraid and try to share the real Spirit of Christmas with them. May they come to know the Hope of mankind. And may they know that He…and others, truly care for them.