To capture the essence of this year in a single word it would have to be Faith: Faith in each other, faith in family and most importantly faith in our unchanging God.
This year has seen adventure, travel, challenge, understanding, growth, joy, laughter and tears and I know for a lot of you the story is probably similar in many ways. Throughout every moment the invisible thread that has been woven throughout is the reassuring gift of faith. And so I wish to share that blessing of faith and hope with you because there is no greater gift I could share with you.
This Christmas, maybe more than before, we celebrate in order to rejoice over God’s most precious gift to us. The birth of Jesus Christ is a gift from God that came in simple wrapping, as well as a gift we don’t deserve. Jesus came near to us so we could come near to God.
I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. —John 10:10
Immanuel: God is with us—God came to us. Giving us the strength to be the man or woman He has called us to be. Jesus said, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20) and “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
The message of Christmas is God with us. That is important to know, especially during those times when we are going through great difficulty. The psalmist said, “If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me” (Psalm 139:9–10). It is great to know that God is with you wherever you go.
Christmas cannot be all that we want it to be. It’s only a holiday. Christmas cannot bring harmony to your home. Christmas cannot bring peace on earth. Christmas cannot bring happiness. Yet Christmas is a promise, a promise to us of a life yet to come and that is what we long for.
Not Christmas, but Christ. Not merriment, but the Messiah. Not goodwill, but God. Not presents, but His presence.
This Christmas may you see and know anew how great His love is toward you.
I pray that you will feel God draw near to you in a very personal way this Christmas, to rejoice with you in happiness and to bring you peace in the hard times, that He would meet your every need as He is always faithful.