Celebrate always, pray constantly, and give thanks to God no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. (This is God’s will for all of you in Jesus the Anointed.)
Someone lost her adult son this week. Someone else has a son with stage four cancer. Someone else I closely know had the anniversary of losing his young son this week. I also know someone else who’s husband left her and their kids. I know someone who’s romantic relationship has broken up after a hopeful year. And I know several women who lost their husbands in the past 15 months, who are grieving. We also said goodbye to my neighbors of over twenty years, yesterday, who are moving away, to be closer to their family.
The gospel of Jesus, the good news of the kingdom, is that God has come and rescued us for time and eternity. Jesus is emmanuel, God with us. Jesus saves and Jesus is with us.
He promised he would always be with us and would send the Holy Spirit, who is the comforter. This is what he told the disciples at the last supper, when he was saying goodbye to them and we get the same benefit. Being a Christian is not just about going to heaven when you die, but having Christ in you when you live.
That is the good news. I have this thought that we need to celebrate Christ coming often. Christmas is not once a year, but part of our whole lives.
When someone receives Christ and believes the gospel for the first time, that day is their Christmas. Christ is birthed in their heart or rather, they are birthed into the kingdom of God. Then throughout our lives, we continually celebrate Christmas: Christ coming as a gift and the gift of being born into Christ’s kingdom.
We all are celebrants is the mass of Christ. We take Christ into our lives daily in celebration.
Baby Jesus was born into a dangerous and violent time. Jesus comes as God’s gift to save the world and redeem it. He changes everything.
Jesus does not hand out tickets to heaven, but changes lives and teaches us to ask God to bring heaven to earth. Jesus brings redemption to chaos and suffering in humanity. Jesus also heals us and delivers us.
Jesus life that we share is also a life of suffering, where we are with and in him, utterly depending upon Father, and living by faith in God as our papa.
Today, right now, we need a little Christmas. We need to come back to remembering what life is all about and what is important and what we celebrate. The good news about Jesus is good everyday, especially when we are digesting bad news in our lives.
The good news is so good that it almost makes us forget the bad things we are experiencing. The good news is not a distraction but the transformative event that changes everything. We celebrate Jesus coming because he is the gift from God that redeems.
Jesus is the redeemer. He takes us and pays for us. And more.
Jesus does not just make the pain or sorrow go away. His redemption is that he comes into it and is with us in it. The good news is that we are not alone or left alone.
Jesus coming does not just cheer us up. He comes to change everything and redeem us. When we celebrate Christmas, with all of it’s accoutrements, like holly, trees, lights and gifts, santa, reindeer, decorations and fun foods; they all point to the gift and the joy and the celebration of Jesus coming.