When December 25th inevitably comes your way, what particular feelings come to mind?
Feelings of anxiety over tense family gatherings? Feelings of loss because someone will not be sitting across from you this year at the Christmas dinner table? Feelings of hopelessness from yet another Christmas spent without being married, without the child that you have longed for, or that job that might actually provide for your family?
In the Bible, there is an image of Jesus that is rather striking. It seems that no matter what situation, no matter what is going on with people; whether they are sick, struggling, sinful, or suffering, Jesus comes. It is certainly a pattern in his ministry as Jesus moved toward people in the gospels, but also Jesus’ coming was the infusion of hope for God’s people.
Think about it for a moment, ever since there was a need for hope, the moment that the concepts of loss, anxiety, unmet desires, or family strife were something that could be experienced, God promised hope by promising Jesus’ coming.
“I will put hostility between you [the serpent] and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring.
He will strike your head,
and you will strike his heel" - Genesis 3:15 (CSB)
Not only was Jesus’ coming the past hope for Israel, but his coming is also the future hope for the Church.
Jesus says about his return, “Don’t let your heart be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, so that where I am you may be also." - John 14:1-3
Jesus knows that his leaving his disciples will be hard. They will be troubled and grieved. His people will suffer persecution, suffering, and strife. This simple truth is the anchor of hope that Jesus gives to his disciples. He says, “I will come again and take you to myself so that where I am you may be also.” Jesus knows that what you need in times of grief, sorrow, sickness, and pain is the hope of Jesus’ return. So, when he comes, what does he bring?
- Jesus’ coming means comfort for the weary
Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”. At Christmas time, for many of us, it is not a refreshing time. Instead, it is stressful and full of regret and loss. Jesus is asking for you to come to him, to remember him. He stands ready to receive all of those who are weary. So, go to him.
- Jesus’ coming means his kingdom comes with all the peace we could ever need
“For a child will be born for us,
a son will be given to us,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
He will be named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
The dominion will be vast,
and its prosperity will never end” - Isaiah 9:6-7
This Jesus is the “Prince of Peace” and there is no end to his kingdom. When most kings come with destruction, Jesus comes with peace and recreation. During a season that may mean more destruction, hopelessness, anxiety, and distress, remember that you are a part of a kingdom that is the opposite of all of those things. You have a king who is your wonderful counselor and Prince of Peace. Let him speak peace into your heart.
- Jesus’ coming means we get Jesus
Remember what he said in John 14? He gave his disciples hope by saying he would prepare a place but the main point he was getting across was this: I’m leaving you now and you will be without me for a time. But I’m coming back, and when I come, we will be together.
Ultimately this is the hope. For all of the good things that come with Jesus, they are only good because they come with Jesus. Peace, rest, hope, and comfort without Jesus are nothing. Jesus is returning. He is the one you go to. Lay all your burdens on him.
Bring him your grief, bring him your anxiety, and bring him your pain. Lay them at the feet of the savior who came and who will come again.
Joseph has also provided a resource to accompany this article. It is a 3-week devotional sharing reflections, truths to hold on to, and actions to practice. This devotional is intended to be used in the 3 weeks leading up to Christmas. We hope it is a blessing to you this holiday session!
Joseph has years of ministry experience providing soul care to a variety of age groups as an Education Pastor, Youth Pastor, and Associate Pastor.