When politics are intense, and contentious, when hillsides and homes are burning, when the news sources offer a steady stream of grim stories, how do we lift our spirits? How do we find joy? Where do we find peace? We always need to have an answer to these questions because every year, every age, has its own agony.
Jesus chose just such a time to enter into our human history. Rome had conquered everyone in the known world. Millions had been forced into slavery, and most others lived at the margins of hunger, making only just enough to get by, from hand to mouth, day by day. Good farmland was hard to come by; so much of it had been depleted. Lives for peasants were hard and short. Judea was just a tiny kingdom, subject to the whims of Roman emperors and governors. Both Nazareth and Bethlehem were tiny backwaters.
It was that very moment and place of desperation that the Lord chose to enter into human history. In dark times, He is the unfailing light. In uncertainty, He is the Unchanging Word of God. In your struggle, He is strength. In poverty, He is the richness of the Father. In your loneliness, He is God with you and for you. He knows your story. He can feel your pain. He shared in it in His own time, and walks with you now.
I encourage you to place your burdens at the foot of the manger, where the Creator of All reveals Himself in the helplessness of a baby. I also invite you to take from that simple gathering, birthed by Mary and sheltered by Joseph, renewed commitment to foster the Lord in your own life.
May this Christmas time bring you hope, the real hope that endures all changes and human problems. May this New Year find you and all you love, richly blessed with all you truly need. May the Infant of Bethlehem be reborn in your home and life.
I wish you and all you love a Merry Christmas, and joy in the New Year!
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