Are you stressed? Are you frustrated? Are you cheerful? The holidays are here. They have arrived too quickly once again. Here is an open-ended question: How does Christmas make you feel? It’s open-ended because there are so many possible answers. For some it’s the merriest time of the year. For others it’s simply exhausting. Some experience a fresh sense of generosity while others are just greedy to commit gluttony. Christmas can make you feel many things but Jesus wants you to feel one thing when you celebrate His birthday. He wants you to feel joy!
“And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.'” (Luke 2:10, English Standard Version)
That’s how the shepherds were instructed on the day of Jesus’s birth. I do not mean to make light of the humble scene of the Savior born into a messy, muddy feeding trough. There is a powerful message there. But despite those conditions the angels, surprisingly, ascribe joy to this humble birth of the long awaited promised Christ. I say it’s shocking because many probably find it confusing that God’s Savior to humanity was born in a stable of smelly animals. Wouldn’t it have been better to have been born in a palace? But don’t miss the glorious truth here for it is in that humble stable where the humility of Christ and the joy of the happy Christian intertwine. It’s the place where the second person of The Holy Trinity clothed Himself with flesh and bone; that is with humanity.
The more I have contemplated that truth over the last couple of years, the merrier my heart has grown. How happy it makes my heart to know that my Savior the Lord of glory, who because He clothed Himself in humanity, knows just how tough my struggles are. And let’s state the obvious: Jesus’s life here on earth was ANYTHING but easy or luxurious. It was tough, it was trying; He felt exhaustion, He was acquainted with sorrow. Just consider this precious truth which the preacher of Hebrews wrote at the conclusion of a long section dealing with the humanity of Christ:
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16, English Standard Version)
There is obviously much that could be said of that passage. Much more than the space of this blog will allow for. But if I can just point out one of the glimmering rays from this glorious truth, then I would say Jesus doesn’t just know that you struggle, but He even knows your struggles. He knows them because He has been there. He has walked in your shoes. I would argue that He has walked further in your shoes than you or I ever could! This is something that some fellow struggler needs to hear this Christmas season. Jesus is not some distant deity who laughs at your failures. Jesus doesn’t kick you while your down. Jesus extends a helping hand giving grace to those who draw near to Him. Jesus is a Savior who passed through the heavens and knows how our weaknesses, temptations, and trials feel. He knows the pain of losing loved ones. He knows the pain of broken hearts. He knows the trials of temptations. Here is the difference though: where we fall, He stands. He has overcome. He has won our victory.
This is what I am dwelling on this Christmas season. That Jesus, the Son of God second person in the Holy Trinity; somehow mysteriously clothed Himself in humanity. And in doing so subjected Himself to the struggles of this fallen world. So, if you feel like you’re struggling this Christmas season, then remember that Jesus knows your struggle. You can come to Him without the fear of being shamed, instead you will receive mercy and grace. That is something to be joyful about. That should make you a happy Christian this Christmas as we celebrate the birth of the Eternal King. So how does Christmas make you feel now? Hopefully like singing. And may our song be that of the angelic host who was singing in the skies overlooking the little town of Bethlehem.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!” (Luke 2:14, English Standard Version)
So be happy this Christmas, indeed have a merry Christmas.