Merry Christmas!

Christmas Day is almost here, and like many people, we have been busy with some fun things, like:

Baking pumpkin chocolate-chip cookies! 

And peppermint bark shortbread! 

Celebrating Glen's birthday! 

And making a gingerbread house -- a first for all of us!

Yes, we've had some fun this month. And we've also had stress and strife (most recently due to an extended family member and jail time), which has not been fun.

The holiday season can be painful and messy, can't it?

Having a baby is messy business. There is blood, sweat, and sometimes tears. And pain. We may have sanitized the birthing experience in many ways, with our hospitals and disinfectants, but the world Jesus was born into was very much like ours today.

A messy, hurting world.

He came as a baby so He could speak from a position of both godly wisdom and true sympathy. He's been here and experienced this messy, busy, chaotic world we live in. He knows every tear we cry and every pain we feel. He understands loneliness and loss. And rejection. He feels for us when we are hurting. He knows what it is like to be human.

"For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need," (Hebrews 4:15-16 NASB).

And he not only saved us, but continually prays -- intercedes -- for us:

". . . Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us," (Romans 8:34 NASB).
"Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them," (Hebrews 7:25 NASB).

Merry Christmas actually means "Happy Christ Mass," or happy remembering what Christ did for us on the cross.  

So don't feel compelled to make someone smile if they are hurting this Christmas. Tell them Jesus understands. And don't feel like you are being trite when you say Merry Christmas in the midst of their pain. 

You are actually telling them to remember the best gift they've ever been given -- hope that we will one day be with our Lord and Savior and hurt no more.

Merry Christmas!