Christmas Time Is Here
(even for the ‘Charlie Browniest’ of us)
Many people look forward to Christmas all year. They join Costco in setting up their decorations in October, and have been listening to “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” secretly since June.
But Christmas can be a polarizing season. For some it is a time to count blessings. For others it is a time when present sufferings and trials only seem more intense and insurmountable. For many, it is a mixture of both blessing and pain.
Many people who feel this mixture of blessing and pain at Christmas resonate with Charlie Brown when he laments:
“I think there must be something wrong with me Linus. Christmas is coming, but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel. I just don’t understand Christmas I guess. I like getting presents, and sending Christmas cards, and decorating trees and all that, but I’m still not happy. I always end up feeling depressed.”
When we voice these honest feelings, there is often a Linus close by to say:
“Charlie Brown, you’re the only person I know who can take a wonderful season like Christmas and turn it into a problem. Maybe Lucy’s right, of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you’re the Charlie Browniest.”
Are you one of the the ‘Charlie Browniest’ people in the world this Christmas?
Maybe you’re sick with a flu that’s keeping you down, or cancer that your doctors say will eventually take you down. Maybe you were diagnosed with some disease or syndrome that will stay with you for the rest of your life and you’re trying to come to terms with your “new normal.” Maybe you’re in the grips of addiction. Maybe you’re dealing with the loss of a loved one through death or divorce. Maybe you lost your job, or didn’t get the dream job you prepared for your whole life. Maybe you thought you would be more successful or further along your “5-Year Plan” than you are, and it’s causing you to spiral into a pit of pity and despair.
It’s at times like these that it is clear that there is something broken with our world. Things aren’t as they should be. We want relief from sorrow and pain – but more than that we desire for things to be made right. We crave wholeness.
That wholeness doesn’t come just because the calendar says December 24 or December 25. The days on the calendar will zoom through our rearview window, and brokenness will still remain. However, Christmas time does provide us with hope.
At Christmas Christians remember that the Author of Life entered his story. The infinite God became the infant child. And this child was named Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:18-25). It is this incarnate coming of the Saviour Jesus Christ that we remember at Christmas. Jesus Christ came to earth to bring the reconciliation we need with God so that we can experience the wholeness we crave. We receive that reconciliation and wholeness by submitting to the King through repentance of sin and belief in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“Wholeness doesn’t come just because the calendar says December 24 or December 25. The days on the calendar will zoom through our rearview window, and brokenness will still remain. However, Christmas time does provide us with hope.”
For those of us who love and follow Jesus, we remember. We remember that Jesus came humbly, lived perfectly, died sacrificially, and rose victoriously for our sake. Yet we don’t just remember, we also wait in expectation.
We wait for our Lord’s next coming, when he will bring the wholeness all creation craves.
We wait for when he will bring the Kingdom, which is here already, finally and fully.
We wait for when he will give us bodies that will not get sick or break down.
We wait for when we will live on a new earth that does not quake or bring destruction.
We wait for when he will wipe away every tear from our eyes.
And we wait for the most amazingly wonderful part of it all – we wait for when he will be our God, we will be his people, and we will be with him perfectly, forever!
As we remember the Christ babe’s first coming and keep our eternal hope in mind, we (even the Charlie Browniest of us!) can prayerfully sing “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus” this Christmas.