This year, it has been a lot harder to get into the holiday spirit, what with the loss of our baby and a good friend, looming tax hikes and inflation putting the pinch on our budget, the murder of a young woman down the street from us, a shooting at our local mall, the massacre of school children in Connecticut, Socialists intent on imposing their agenda and stripping away our liberties, Islamic Radicals and Christian persecution on the rise around the world (emboldened by our own weak foreign policy), and a sleepy American church seemingly content to either blindly or apathetically sit on the sidelines, scanning the skies for a quick rapture getaway while leaving the world around them to self-destruct. It’s enough to make you want to throw in the towel.
Yet, while all the jovial music, decorations, parties, presents, feasting and celebration seem out of place in all this madness, the story of Christmas is exactly the reminder we need most. God incarnate came into a world of grinding poverty, injustice, oppression, religious legalism and hypocrisy, and routine slaughter of the innocent. The Father did not spare His Son from suffering the same ugly realities that we face, and many much worse.
And that is what we celebrate: Immanuel…God with us. The God who sees. The God who suffers. The God who loves unconditionally, who humbled Himself and gave His own life to save us. And the promise that one day, He will return and restore everything to rights.