Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas 2011: No More Band-Aids

Often, reason-for-the-season messages talk about Jesus saving us so that we’ll go to heaven after we die. Well, I’m thinkin’, “God, don’t just leave us here. What about now?” Jesus’ coming to earth has benefits for us now, too. This Christmas, I want to focus on the companionship of God in our day-to-day trials and triumphs.
The desire of God’s heart has always been—that we would be His people and He would be our God. First, for that to happen, Jesus came to Earth to pay our debt so that we could become God’s children and be with Him forever. Second, for that to happen, we simply tell Jesus we need Him and want Him in our lives now and for eternity.
Now—2011 has been a very difficult year for me emotionally. Between grieving gradual loss of health of people I dearly love and sudden loss of our little Charlie-dog, I’ve often felt heartbroken. Add to that sadness, everyday disappointments with people, circumstances, and yes, God. Don’t we all sometimes feel rejected and alone, discouraged by physical, emotional, even corporate setbacks, or wounded in big or small ways? I love the quote by French priest S. Rougier, “Dieu nous dit: “Ta blessure, c’est ma place.” God says to us, “Your wound, that’s my place.” Isn’t that precious?
We all have our struggles, our moments, like the loneliness of wondering if those closest to you will ever fully know you (the answer is no, but we continue to long for this), your own heartbreak over loss … outrage at  injustice … fear of the unknown … setbacks. Think for a moment about your frustrations and disappointments with spouses, parents, kids, friends, bosses, clients, coworkers, HR departments, students, politicians, vendors, and yes, God. Life on earth is full of this stuff.
What do you do with all this? I have found that all this world has to offer me to bind up my wounds is Band-Aids—more chocolate, more introspection,  more exercise, more toys, more parties, which don’t seem to truly heal anything, and more friends, who inevitably, eventually poke a pointy fingernail into my rejection wounds—and twist. Band-Aids also can’t give me strength or peace or guidance.
Where in this world can we turn for refuge, comfort, healing, and peace that baffles human logic? The only perfect friend—the one who always acts in your best interests, and oh, by the way, has the power and authority to change things—is God Himself—all three persons of the Trinity. God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit never leave you or forsake you. Remember the desire of God’s heart? To be your God and for you to be His people. The bible says “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.” This is a very intimate thing to say. And it sounds even more intimate in French!  Mon bien aimé est à moi, et je suis à lui. God says this to us. Furthermore, the bible says He rejoices over us with loud singing!  
Yeah, God wants us to spend eternity with Him in heaven after we die. But—Like any loving father, God wants us to bring our hurts to Him now, in the dailiness of life. He wants to send His Holy Spirit to comfort and guide us. He wants us to know deeply He loves us. Jesus came to Earth to walk with us now, too, to heal, to help us forgive, to give purpose to our lives—not just so that we can be with Him in heaven someday.
Another reason I’m grateful Jesus came is, because He did, God is not just a lofty deity, He understands every human emotion, from jubilation to dejection. Although in some of this year’s owwies, I did seek the chocolate Band-Aid, mostly I leaned on God to carry and strengthen me. I don’t know how I would have navigated 2011’s storms without God’s companionship and healing love steadying me.
I couldn't pick just one Christmas carol that expresses all this, so I plucked sound bites from several:
O come to us, abide with us,
Far as the curse is found,
A weary world rejoices.
Emmanuel, God with us,
Risen with healing in his wings.
O tidings of comfort and joy.

"I Will Lift My Eyes" by Bebo Norman says it all though. Here's a link to the lyrics:
May God's wonder-filled presence grace your Christmas and new year.


Michelle Van Loon said...

I think for so many who grieve, this time of year amplifies our losses. I am praying for you tonight, Jane. Thank you for your beautiful post.

AquaJane said...

Thank you, Michelle!

Mary Sorrentino said...

What a blessing ~ to be reminded that the GIFT of Jesus is not just a guarantee of eternity, but that eternity with Him starts now! Your beautiful message is balm for all of the "owies" I'm dealing with today. Thank you!

tandemingtroll said...

Awesome post! I will be spending some time trying to rid myself of some band aids this year.

God Bless!