The Unvarnished Christmas Story

With the Christmas season be here, we will likely be presented with numerous opportunities to talk to people about how the babe in the manger is a gift that can have great significance for them, right now, today. Because Christmas for many is little more than a secular, commercialized holiday, there is little to celebrate for the millions worldwide who grapple with increasing poverty, injustice, chaos, fear, and suffering. But there is hope; there can be awe-inspiring life transformation, which can bring strength and joy where there was none, and the will to keep going in hard times, when that will is almost gone.

As the world grows darker, the gift appears more valuable, and people who are looking for the Light will not be able to miss it. “But where sin increased, grace increased all the more.”1 The Christian message of hope, that God’s power can keep us, and that His love can overcome anything, becomes more appealing and relevant by the day, as events strip away people’s sense of security, worldly joys, and even daily necessities in many cases.

This Christmas let the message of hope ring in your heart and radiate from your life. At every opportunity let it beam from your face. As followers of Jesus who have given our lives to Him and have experienced His care, support, protection, and guidance in good times and bad, let’s proclaim the message that Jesus is our hope!

Spread the message this Christmas that there is an answer for those seeking truth and meaning. Tell whoever will listen about the reason for your joy. Tell them about the hope of the world that began with the birth of a little baby in a Bethlehem stable. Declare to them how God loved them so much that He took on a human body so that He could experience the life that we all face, unshielded from its hardships and upheavals. Tell them how He faced dire situations from the moment of His conception in a culture where an unwed mother faced being an outcast from society. He didn’t choose the easy path through life, because out of His love for us He wanted to fully experience the human existence: the immense difficulties as well as the joys.

Let’s take advantage of this Christmas season to celebrate how Jesus came to earth, God and man, to live a life as one of us. Let’s draw people in with His story, told not like some fairytale where all is pleasant and friendly, but as it really was. Tell them the story that shows the hardships that His earthly parents experienced. Tell them how time after time they were delivered from troubles and dangerous circumstances. Though it required being displaced and fleeing into exile, through these hard times they were unwittingly fulfilling the prophecies that defined His birth, His life, and ultimately His death and resurrection.

Let’s show people the unvarnished story of the Son of God, who faced incredible life-altering challenges and died a cruel death on the cross to save each one of us. Let’s give them hope in the midst of their troubles with the knowledge that God in the flesh, Jesus, experienced the full force of man’s inhumanity to man. That’s why He can be right here, a close friend who truly understands the hardships and fears we face in life. He wants to stay at our side, sustaining and upholding us through everything.

This Christmas, through our example and words, let’s show that hope exists and that the internal abundant life is possible, no matter what situation we find ourselves in, Jesus will see us through.

Merry Christ-mas to all.