She walks into the store bravely, yet broken, bearing the fresh scars of a deep soul-pain that I can’t even begin to understand. I’d heard the news: four teens from my small hometown community killed in a wreck the day before Thanksgiving. Good kids. God-fearing kids. Kids gone much too early.
She should have been home with her son, relishing the moments of family gathered together on this holiday weekend. And yet, here she was, picking out clothes to wear to his funeral. I stood rooted to the spot when she broke down into sobs that defy description … the sound of a mother’s raw heart ripping wide open. A lump rose in my throat and tears streamed from my eyes, as I bore witness to her unbelievable pain and felt my own heart ripping in two.
Then a voice sounded from across the room: “Can I pray for you?” And suddenly my feet carried me to her side. I linked arms with a small group of women as we embraced this hurting mother and prayed for heaven to bend low and lift her in his arms, because only Jesus can answer a hurt like that.
Christmas is going to be unbearably painful for this mother; it’s going to be unbearably painful for a lot of people in my small Missouri hometown. In fact, Christmas is going to be hard for a lot of people across the world.
Perhaps Christmas is going to be hard for you.
From Connecticut to California, Ireland to Iraq, Africa to Afghanistan, as far as the east is from the west, people across this world are hurting. Parents are missing children, children are missing parents, death, divorce, sickness, suffering … A lot of people are in a lot of pain, and sometimes, the glad tidings of the Christmas season are just too much to bear. Because tree trimmings, sleigh bells ringing, and lights twinkling don’t answer the deep soul-ache of a heart in pain.
Broken hearts don’t need festive greenery, reindeer, or a man in a red suit; broken hearts need a savior to enter into their pain and bind up the brokenness.
Two thousand years ago that savior arrived in the form of a boy born in a Bethlehem manger. Hope wrapped himself in flesh and interrupted the weary, despairing world with the life-giving news of a baby born to save the world.
Born to an unwed teenage mother in a dirty stable within an insignificant town; wrapped in rags and laid in a feed trough, the long-awaited rescuer arrived in a way no one anticipated. Jesus wasn’t born into privilege or welcomed into a royal court. He was born unto us … unto the common, the lonely, the heartbroken, the poor, the rejected, the forgotten, the overlooked, the discouraged.
Immanuel–God with us–was born into the very midst of our mess.
In a humble stable in the little town of Bethlehem, God drew near to the poor and the despairing. The light of the world shone into the darkness, and the hope of salvation eclipsed the pain and the despair of the human heart. Suddenly hope and healing, redemption and restoration had a name …
And He is Jesus.
This is the miracle of that first Christmas … that heaven unfurled itself, draped down low, and the majesty of God came to dwell among us. And this is the miracle of Christmas today … that God remains with us.
So this holiday season, if Christmas carols ring hollow, twinkling lights have lost their luster, and you’re burdened by a pain too heavy to bear, there is this … Simply this: God is near. Bind these words upon your soul and carry them like a banner over your heart. Because Immanuel came near, and near to you He remains.
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). – Matthew 1:23
/ / /
For more content like this, connect with me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! To receive more encouraging posts AND get a free printable, enter your e mail in the box to the sidebar at the right. Then just click “I want to Follow F&C!” Be sure to check your inbox for the confirmation and the link to your free printable. You can also follow F&C on BlogLovin’.
All content is ©Faith&Composition by Shalene Roberts, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. If you like F&C content, I’d be tickled pink if you would share. Just please include a link to the original post. Thank you!