this year it has been especially hard for me to get into the christmas spirit.
It’s not that there was some road block deliberately keeping my heart from feeling the soaring joy and cheer of yuletide. It hasn’t been there, which isn’t necessarily abnormal for me. But it’s been frustrating, nonetheless.
So I’ve been forcing myself into jazz christmas playlists, and trying to glean joy from the advent scriptures, and basically attempting to scrounge up cheer from whatever parts of me that I can.
So it’s Christmas Eve morning. I’m running on approximately 5 hours of sleep. I’m harboring a lot of teeth-clenching frustrations from random and oddly trivial things. and I put on my most favorite album, which happened to be a hard choice to make for my heart, and decided to close my eyes.
This song begins to play and my brain, associates words in the song with apparent text from the word, is full – thousands of thoughts, a picture.
A room. Except nothing is truly perceivable. At the foot of the image there is a gold floor, engraved and embossed and shining. Beyond that, only light. Beyond the gold floor is blinding, spot-inducing, earth-shattering, gaze breaking light. And the person standing and seeing this, falls to their knees. But doesn’t lower their head, maintains a steady and strong gaze at the light that seemingly drowns them. There is no movement towards or away, just a stolidity, a steadfastness to the gaze towards the mystery of the light. The person begins to weep. But never looks away.
I can feel something in my heart twist and turn and move, and all I can think of is this:
Christ was nailed to a tree, and with blood dripping from hands, feet, and head, his last breath killed the stigma of sin, washing away our marks of walking in deliberate disobedience to God.
And when he rose again, he defeated sin, death, the curse, and even Satan. Our salvation was accomplished and he invites us to receive this salvation through faith in Him. That invitation beckons us to bask in the glory of the throne room, in the presence of God.
And my brain doesn’t really think about the birth, just the sheer idea that because of Jesus’ life, those who believe in his name are able to walk in communion with him.
But in-between the first and second service, the first and second glory-filled moment, there are a lot of frustrations. Grumblings. Annoyances. But they disappear when the pastor starts talking at the evening service, service number 2.
“I think there must have been unaccompanied rejoicing in the courts as the events unfolded in Bethlehem.”
And he mentions how perhaps the veil must have been was moved back, and how if that were the case, the separation between between those bound to earth and those dancing in the courts was merely physical. I can imagine the angels marveled as they watched the shepherds wonder at the star. As they watched the wise men on camels carrying gifts for this promised One. And I imagine when they met the Shepherds in the field that night, the army of angels commanded by our Merciful God were joy-filled: their savior had become flesh. To save the lost, to bring His Beloved back into his courts.
Heaven watched earth receive their king, into a barn in David’s town. They watched. They sang. The Great Joy for All People, their Glorious King, a baby in Bethlehem.
And yet, Jesus had come to a world that would not receive him with open arms. He came to a people who would spit on him, revile him, wound him, hate him.
He came from the heavenly courts, of 24/7 light and dancing and feasting and perfection to become like us in every way, to know our pain, healing, grief, joys, sorrows, happinesses, and imperfections intimately.
But Peace on Earth was born.
And this birth started a chain of events that allowed us the following gift:
To whomever believes in him, receiving him as the King of their life and heart, He has given the right (because of Jesus’ life – from cradle to grave), to become children of God. (see John 1:9-13) And as a child of God, those who are saved receive the birthright of Jesus. When God sees us, he sees Him and the perfection that he was and will continue to be.
And so today. There is cheer and joy and awe and marvel that resounds: the Gloried One came to bridge the gap between God and man.
Merry Christmas. May today be filled with reminders of Jesus’ Great Birth and what it means for those who believe in Him.