On the night before Christmas, in my family, we would light the very last candle and read the very last story before we went to bed for the night, awaiting the next morning with anticipation. This was the night. The night when the house was lit with a light unlike any other night, when we gathered together, sat, and sang Christmas carols until our eyes were droopy and our hearts overflowing. I love this night. It seems there can never be so much hope as on Christmas Eve, no more love than our family gathered around our candles all lit up, no more joy than your faces in the glow of the merry flames, and no more peace than the calmness found in the space between us. On this night there is never any doubt in my mind: this is the most wonderful time of the year.
Especially in these days of darkness, or shocking stories told on the nightly news, of people hurting, or children exploited, of entire people groups abandoned and left to search for a new home, of the death of loved ones to every illness imaginable, of lost souls seeking comfort in the very corners of sin – where they think they are invisible, in a time when suicides are all too common, a time when it feels we have never been further from our Creator until now, and we will be further away tomorrow. Christmas is our reminder. Otherwise it can feel hopeless, chaotic, restless, overwhelming, and as if peace is foreign in this world, an immigrant not allowed to enter. It can feel empty, joyless, like nothing you do will ever satisfy. It can feel devoid of love as you watch the light in your belly die out and your future turn bleak.
Children of God!
We need to take advantage of this season in our homes, in our ministries, in our jobs, in our communities, families, friendships, and acquaintances. This season is needed most in these days. When it seems all turns to black, dark, messy, and ugly; we need a reminder of our salvation more than ever before.
We need the reminder of hope in our bleakness. The promise we have been given, allowing us to look to a new world devoid of sin. The ability to bear the sickness of this world in light of the health of the next. We are able to look past the darkness here as it is lit up by the one who is preparing us a new home. We don’t have to ever wonder if that blackness will win, it has, indeed, already been defeated.
We need the reminder of peace. We need to remember its importance. We need to give it the visa into our hearts and lives, a place to live, and a job to perform. We need to share this peace. We need to tell those caught in the crossfire of this earth, there is peace for them. Tell those living with illness, with rejection, with abuse, with abandonment…tell them there is peace for them. Tell them there is a God seeing more than us, seeing the entire picture, and He loves us. Tell them he’s got control of this one. He has got all of them. Tell them it’s his Christmas gift to them. The peace of knowing we are in the hands of the one who made the entire earth.
We need to remember the choice we have been given to accept joy in our lives. To be reminded that even as all seems lost, all seems done for, as if nothing we do now could ever save our world, we can look beyond to see joy. God died so we don’t have to agonize over the bleakness of our home. We can accept the brokenness, work in His name against it, and choose to be joyful in the promise made to us in spite of the present circumstances of our temporary world.
We need to remember the characteristics of God’s love for us, the most important component involved: the unconditional-ness of this tsunami of affection. Remember, he sees everything, and STILL loves you. Even though he saw that one thing, even though you aren’t where you thought you would be today, he sees that, and he carries it for you in His heart, never allowing it to take away his love for his child.
In the final days of this season, we must think on these things, share them, and stare them dead in the eyes to see the awesomeness available there.
Here at Casafé we shared that as best we could this season. Bringing Christ to our youth through hope, peace, joy, and love. We want them to have more of Jesus, we want us to have more of Jesus, and we want you to have more of Jesus. In the fine print of this advent season we can see, as a whole of humanity, we all need more Jesus. So my prayer this year, for my youth, for the Casafé team, for everyone reading this, and for everyone not – that we all get more of Jesus, in every season of the year.