Christmas represents many things to many people.
For me, at my current stage in life,
the Christmas story is a clear picture of
Hope for today.
Hope for tomorrow.
Hope for eternity.
Why is it a message of hope?
Let's start with Mary, who depicted herself as a "lowly servant girl" in Luke chapter 1. She considered herself a lowly servant girl, and yet the Lord chose to use her. He had favor on her, for she was blameless in His sight.
I know what you're thinking. Mary was a virgin and probably the "sweetest, most beautiful, most precious girl in school" back in Bethlehem. Everybody probably loved her. She would have been that girl in college you loved and hated simultaneously because she seemed so perfect and always had everything together. No wonder God chose to use her. She's June Cleaver for goodness sakes.
Or maybe she was more like Mary Poppins -- practically perfect in every way. Precious line, but really Walt? Just kidding, I'm sure Walt didn't write the script. (Even though he could have, seeing as he died in 1966, and Mary Poppins was first released in 1964.) But really, what woman wants to be compared to that? But at least with Mary Poppins, she flies by means of an umbrella she obviously didn't purchase at Target. That adds even just a hint of fantasy-level to the whole ordeal.
Now let's pause one second here. It doesn't matter how Mary was regarded by others -- aka it didn't matter what others thought of her or what she thought of herself. The Lord loved her, despite the fact that she considered herself unworthy. Here's the reality. We're all unworthy.
As Christians, we believe that when we accept Jesus into our hearts, our transgressions are completely wiped away. We are FORGIVEN. The Bible doesn't say we're only forgiven of certain things. We are forgiven of EVERYTHING. Let me not fail to mention, no one is excluded from the Message of hope that comes with the birth of Jesus. In fact, it is quite clear that everyone is included. See 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 and Colossians 3:9. It doesn't matter what you've done. I can't say it loud enough: It is through Christ that WE ARE MADE WORTHY.
It doesn't matter what you've done, where you've been, who you've slept with, what you've ate or drank or said. It doesn't matter who you've hurt or who has hurt you or the pain you've endured or the pain you've caused. It doesn't matter how hardened your heart might be. It doesn't matter if you're wealthy or poor or Egyptian or American or Sudanese or Russian or Nicaraguan. It doesn't matter what you look like or who you've dated. It doesn't matter how many boys you've kissed. It doesn't matter if you think you are a failure and your life is meaningless. It doesn't matter if you feel like you have no hope.
YOU ARE INCLUDED IN THE MESSAGE OF CHRIST.
And in the Message of Christ, we're included in everything -- redemption, salvation, life abundantly on earth and in heaven, forgiveness of sin, mercy, grace, unconditional love every day of our lives and into eternity. Perhaps the good, not-so-old, and really not-so-wholesome film Love Actually portrayed this message quite adequately, even though I realize it wasn't suggesting the Lord in any way, shape or form.
Don't you see? To the Lord, you are PERFECT.
You think you can't be forgiven?
Ask God to forgive you.
Believe in the truth that NOTHING separates us from Christ. I've mentioned this verse many times before but let me repeat these words of truth, because they are so powerful.
"Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow -- not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below -- indeed, nothing in all creation will every be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord." -Romans 8:35-39 (New Living Translation)
Do you hear what God is saying?
My darling daughter, I don't care what you've done. You are mine. I created you. I knit you together in your mother's womb, because you are my princess. You are my daughter, my most prized possession. I will fight for you, if you'll only hold still (Exodus 14:14). Let me rescue you. Let me forgive you. Remember I forgive you the moment you ask, and yet, you continue to beat yourself up about these things for years and years. You know, honey, I know you're going to make mistakes. I know that. But remember, "Who knows if you were made queen for just such a time as this?" (See Esther 14:14) And I'm asking you, on this Christmas Eve to remember the story of my Son.
Unto us a child was born, in a manger, in a stable in the small town of Bethlehem on a starry, starry night. He entered the world in a less than regal state, and yet He was to be a King. He lived and taught among the prostitutes, the broken-hearted, the lepers, the unwanted, because He wanted them. He loved them, for they were his Father's children. And because of this great love, He eventually suffered a brutal death upon a cross, so that ALL of our sins would forever be forgiven, if only we would ask forgiveness.
Obviously the photo above is not of baby Jesus, but it is of a baby -- my favorite off of the top results for newborn babies on Google Images, in fact. I'm ridiculous, I know. I admit it. (#andiaintashamed for you Twitter users out there.) Upon looking at this picture, I could not help but be filled with hope. I am so hopeful for the incredible life that lies before that precious child. That is the hope that comes with following Jesus, for He came to bring us new life -- life free from sin. (See Romans 8.) He knows we are unable to conquer sin alone, but with Him, all things are possible.
I don't care how deeply entrenched in sin you are this Christmas, you are included in this message of hope. The Lord claims this about His daughters...
"You are all fair, my love; there is no flaw in you." -Song of Songs 4:7
I wish I could literally jump out of the computer screen and hold the hands of every hurting woman out there, and tell you face-to-face, "There is HOPE."
Just kidding. This hope isn't going to be found in a jar -- even though I hear the Hope-in-a-Jar moisturizer from Sephora is quite excellent. It isn't going to be found in losing weight; however, that doesn't dismiss the fact that we must be good stewards of the bodies we've been given and keep them in healthy. This hope isn't going to be found in a man or a friend or a puppy or money or your job or the possibilities of your 'next big break.'
This HOPE, the eternal joy you're looking for, is found in the story we hear so many times this season -- the story of a baby boy named Jesus, the son of God. He lived a perfect life and died, because He loved us. He loves you. He has and will. Always and forever.
"There is more than enough room in my Father's home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?" -John 14:2 (New Living Translation)
Merry Christmas! All my love!