In this broken world, Christmas is not always a time of joy, celebration and togetherness. The holiday can painfully highlight the dysfunction in our families, accentuate the struggle of those who are sick and suffering, or remind us of the loved ones we have lost. Despite our best efforts to embrace the beauty and spirit of the season, it can be deeply sad and painful.
It is at times like these that I find comfort in the One who must have known a deeper loneliness and understood our brokenness more than anyone who has ever walked this earth: Jesus. Despite a lifetime of surrendered service to others through teaching, healing, restoring, and renewing, nobody really understood who He was or why He came until after he died.
Isaiah 53:3 tells us “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.” Other historical records describe Jesus as looking so much older and worn than a man in his thirties because he carried, literally, the weight and sin of the world on His shoulders.
Because Jesus came to live among us and suffered as we did– infinitely more!– Hebrews 4:15 reminds us that “We do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are, yet He did not sin.”
When I am overtaken with grief, I find a quiet place and commune with Jesus through prayer. I pour out my heart to Him, I tell Him all my sorrows and disappointments. I repent of my own sin. I ask for strength for the journey and healing for my broken heart, I pray for His comfort, wisdom and understanding to guide me. If I have specific needs, I spell them out and ask for His provision. I take as much time as I need– an hour, two hours, even half a day.
I always have my Bible with me during these times and often read through the Psalms. I find He speaks to me clearly and plainly through His Word and I emerge from these sessions strengthened in my mind, heart and soul. Though my circumstances may not immediately change, He gives me a a renewed outlook and understanding that changes the way I deal with those challenges…and that makes all the difference.
If you have a God-sized hole in your heart this Christmas, only God can fill it. Make room, invite Him in and allow Him to pour into your life all that you need, including the privilege of receiving the deepest and truest friend who “Will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Merry Christmas from Healed, Healthy and Whole!