“For the director of music. Of David the servant of the LORD. He sang to the LORD the words of this song when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said: I love you, LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies. The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook; they trembled because he was angry. Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it. He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet. He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind. He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him– the dark rain clouds of the sky. Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced, with hailstones and bolts of lightning. The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy, with great bolts of lightning he routed them. The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at your rebuke, LORD, at the blast of breath from your nostrils. He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. ” Psalm 18:1-17
For some the Christmas season is full of hard and hurt; not holly jolly and full of cheer. If that is you, there is good news, it doesn’t have to be this way!
There are many reasons for less than cheerful holidays; family drama, finances, relationship issues, unmet expectations, and even health problems can contribute to less than joyful holidays. Whatever the reasons may be, Christmas can still be redeemed by the Redeemer himself!
Last year our family was destitute. I mean we absolutely had nothing. We could hardly pay our bills. We had no income coming in for at least six months prior to Christmas.
We were new in town and didn’t know very many people. Christmas looked bleak.
We were not able to provide gifts for our children, a special meal, or even afford spare extra gas money to drive around and look at lights. Things felt dark. We were sifting through our joy grabbing for spare cheer as we could find it.
But Jesus –
Although last Christmas was a season of financial and material lack, our family received abundant favor and love from the Lord during the holiday season.
We never went hungry. We had a warm place to sleep at night. Our electricity remained on. We had enough gas to get to where we needed to go. We even had free cable TV so we could watch Christmas specials.
As the day grew near we weren’t sure if we would have anything extra to celebrate with – no special meal – no gifts for our kids to open. Just a couple days before we received an unexpected, anonymous, cash gift in the mail. One that was more than enough to pay for groceries for a nice meal and also take our kids to a movie, after we paid a couple outstanding bills. A few days later gifts arrived at our home for our children by anonymous gift givers.
We were floored. We were full of joy. Not because of the material things we received, but in joy at the love we received. We were seen. We were known. We were not wanting for love and care.
Jesus redeemed our Christmas not with gifts or cash, but with love.
He does this all year round. He is the Redeemer. He redeems our mistakes and bad choices. He redeems our anger. He redeems our mistrust. He redeems our lack of faith. He redeems our selfishness. He redeems our lives we waste. He will and can redeem anything we give to him.
He redeems with love.
He brings favor upon us despite enemies that come to hurt and betray us. He brings peace to us when we feel afraid. He quenches our lust for material things with fulfilling relationships. He redeems the greatest sinner to sainthood. He gives unlimited grace to the biggest pharisee who repents and humbly asks for it.
He redeems all those things, relationships, and decisions we thought had died. He gives them new life. He takes our brokenness and gives it new intention and resolve. He redeems only those things which we have given up on and given over to him.
He is the Redeemer. Let him redeem your Christmas no matter how bleak and dark it may seem. Let him breath new life into that broken relationship. Let him heal that family drama. Let him shower blessings upon you despite your financial woes. Let him give strength to a weak immune system. Let him exceed every expectation you have.
Let him love you.
Let Jesus redeem you to a place of joy and cheer. He is your abundance. He is your Christmas joy.
Have I lost my cheer this Christmas Season? Why?
Have I put myself in the posture to receive Christ’s cheer and joy this holiday season? If not what can I do right now to allow more Christmas joy?