A Different Kind of Christmas
By Carolyn Dale Newell
Millions will experience Christmas unlike their traditional celebration this year. Someone will be absent. Possibly a sibling, a parent, a spouse, or even a child. There will be a void where there once was love and laughter. The night may be more silent, but never less holy.
Yes, we all know Jesus is the reason for the season, but how can the Lord Jesus Christ help you do more than muddle through this holy night?
Let’s examine the names of Jesus which surround His birth. We will begin with Immanuel (God with Us).
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14 NASB)
When sin entered the world, it did not catch God off guard. God the Father knew from the foundation of the world that He would send God the Son (Huios Tou Theou) as our sin sacrifice. Death followed sin, and although the work of Christ on Calvary’s cross did not eliminate death, it did give us hope. We have the hope of seeing our Christian brothers and sisters in heaven again. The unsaved world cannot cling to this truth. There may be circumstances where an unbelieving loved one has passed, and we struggle even more with that loss. Can you imagine that degree of grief? That is why it is vital that we remain as a constant witness to the lost.
Along with hope, Christ also empathizes with us. Although the Bible never says Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father, died, it is inferred. Joseph is never mentioned beyond the twelfth birthday of Jesus. As the eldest son of Mary, Jesus was responsible for His mother. On the cross, He designated that obligation to the apostle John which indicates Joseph was no longer in the picture.
Jesus knows how you feel. Being fully God did not keep Him from being fully man. Mind boggling, isn’t it? Our minds struggle to comprehend how Jesus was one hundred percent God while He was one hundred percent man, but we must accept the Bible’s truth.
Jesus was not only “God with Us” during His thirty-three years on earth. He is always with us. Hebrews 13:5 assures us that He will never leave us nor forsake us. During our loneliest times, He is there, right by our side.
We have His hope and His compassion. Jesus is also our Wonderful Counselor (Peleh Yo’etz).
“For a Child will be born to us,
A Son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”
(Isaiah 9:6 NASB)
Perhaps you have talked with a therapist about the emptiness that has been left in your heart. Others may recall a guidance counselor from school. Simply put, Jesus Christ faithfully guides us. As we seek Him in prayer, we can trust His leading hand.
As a legally blind person, I depend on someone to guide me. At times, I travel by sighted guide with a friend or my husband. Now I navigate with a guide dog. Neither mode of mobility is faultless, but following the direction of our Wonderful Counselor is always perfect. He will carry us through the darkest times.
We have opened the gifts of hope, compassion, constant abiding, and guidance. Now we have saved the best present for last – peace. Not just any peace, but Jesus gives us His very own peace He is the Prince of Peace (Sar Shalom).
You may not be ready to deck the halls or ring those bells. Perhaps your anxiety levels chase peace from settling down in your soul. Jesus has never left your side. He has not abandoned you. When He is not walking alongside you, He is carrying you through, just like the familiar “Footprints in the Sand”. At times, we search for peace in things which never produce genuine peace. We shop. We remodel. We eat. These are temporary fillers, momentary pleasures. We try filling the hole in our hearts with everything except the only thing that satisfies our hunger – Jesus. You know those specific cravings you get for something sweet and full of calories? You may try nuts, veggies, or even fruit. Nothing hits the spot except the sweet food you tried so hard to avoid.
Even now, you may not feel like rocking around the Christmas tree, but you may be inclined to grab a cup of hot chocolate, a warm blanket and your Bible. As you open the Psalms, begin talking to your Wonderful Counselor. Seek tranquility from the Prince of Peace. Worship Immanuel. Once a Baby in a barn, but now a King on His throne. Allow Jesus, the Son of God to perform heart surgery on your broken heart. That is His specialty. Yes, Christmas will be different, but the presence of Jesus Will be definite.
Copyright 2016 Carolyn Dale Newell.
Learn more about the names of God and prayer in Carolyn’s new book, “Incense Rising: 60 Days to Powerful Prayer”. This devotional makes a great last minute Christmas gift. Details here https://amountainoffaith.wordpress.com/carolyns-books/