I love all the “things” about Christmas. White twinkling lights make my whole life better. I love having Christmas baking around for my kids. And Austrian jam cookies for me. I love the thrill of finding the perfect gift and spending an evening wrapping them all perfectly. I love the cantata, the Sunday school plays, the music, the traditions, getting my yearly visit with my brother…everything. But as much as I love all of that, is not really the point, is it?
If the only thing you feel like you can celebrate this Christmas is Jesus, you’ve had a successful Christmas. If the only thing you can think to be happy about is your salvation, Christmas is still amazing. Without that central story of a baby who came because God loved us that much, Christmas is just stuff. The wonder wouldn’t be there. The joy, the meaning, the celebration, is all because of Jesus.
If you are lonely, remember Emmanuel - God is with us. Even if every earthly person has forsaken us. When we’ve recently lost a loved one. When there’s an empty chair because you’ve been abandoned. When you’ve been hurt and betrayed. Jesus is Emmanuel.
If you feel like you’re in darkness, remember that Jesus is the Light of the World. Whether the darkness is a terrible circumstance or a difficult situation. When you feel a darkness covering your life that you can’t explain. No matter the cause of the darkness, Jesus brings light.
If you feel dissatisfied, Jesus is the Bread of Life. There are people who will have actual physical hunger this Christmas. And there are people who will be hungry spiritually. And some of us will feel a hungering for the things this world offers. Jesus is the only satisfaction we need. And when we fill up on Him, we stop hungering for everything else.
If you feel lost, Jesus is the Good Shepherd. Maybe this Christmas you find yourself wandering the hills. Maybe you have left to search for meaning, or you’ve left the flock because of hurt, or you’re just feeling out on your own. No matter what, Jesus is your shepherd. That means He’s pursuing you. Rescuing you. Watching over you. He will always come and find you.
If you have sinned, Jesus is our Mediator. Sometimes the hurt, the circumstances, the difficulties are because of other people. But sometimes, its our own fault. Our own sin that has created our problems, the barrier between us and God. In those times, Jesus stands before His Father, ready to mediate on our behalf. To stand ready to pay the price and wipe our record clean. We can come boldly to the throne of grace. Because of Jesus.
Jesus is the Prince of Peace. If you are tired. If you are worn. If you are sad, weary, depressed, stressed, hurt, angry…no matter what is going on this season, you can have peace because you can have Jesus. He stands ready beside you no matter what. And He shares His peace with you, if you’ll only accept it.
This is the ultimate way to have a Merry Christmas even if your heart is not light - Jesus. Just Jesus. May you look to Him for everything you’re missing today and find the peace that He gives and celebrate the joy of your salvation.