Monday, December 7, 2015

No Room For Reindeer

Today the world is getting me down.  Outside are the terrorists. Inside we have people who react to the violence of a few by hating the many. There are sorrows closer to home - loved ones with cancer, believers who seem to be slipping away, evangelism that failed, and divorce and marital strife among those I care about.   I didn’t want to plan Christmas posts.  I didn’t want to think about December.  My mood is black.  There is no room for reindeer.

I suspect I am not the only one suffering so.

Yet Christmas is around the corner.  Does the holiday have anything to say to us, those who are struggling to find the spirit of the season?

Oh yes.

Think about the story of Jesus birth.  He wasn’t born into a world of light.  Roman occupation weighed heavily on the Jews.  A former nation of slaves, they longed to once again be free. The local king of the Jews, Herod the Great, had proven no friend.  Although he spent a fortune rebuilding the temple and establishing himself as a Jewish King, he was in fact a paranoid dictator, murdering a number of family members in a rage including his wife and brother-in-law.  This world of darkness was a place where Essenes escaped into caves and Zealots plotted the downfall of Rome. 

This is the world where a hugely pregnant Mary traveled with Joseph south to Bethlehem to be taxed.  In poverty, they waited with the cows for her first-born son to come into the world.  It was here where Angels appeared to shepherds in the night and proclaimed this:

“Do not be afraid; for behold I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  This will be a sign for you; you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

It was into that darkness that these bold words were spoken by the armies of heaven. 

“Glory to God in the highest, 
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”

Jesus did not come into a world of peace, grace and civility.  In his day, leaders were corrupt and morally bankrupt, the people were oppressed, and the religious factions battled each other rather than convert the lost.  Jesus came in a world just like ours.  The angel’s good news of great joy remains: Jesus is light, hope and life for our darkness too.

I may not be ready for reindeer, or blinking lights, or jingling bells.  Reality might intrude on the fantasy that is all things “Holiday” in America.  Yet I am ready for Jesus.  I am ready for the one who is light in the darkness, peace in the midst of strife, reconciliation among enemies, and love that defeated hate in death.  I may not be ready to “Deck the halls with boughs of Holly” but I am ready to join the herald angels in song. 

Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris'n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"


PS.  In an effort to focus on Jesus this Christmas I wrote a series of meditations on his arrival into the world.  Join us next week for all four!


  1. Great post! It sure puts Christmas in the right perspective!

  2. I'll tell you the truth Tracey. It wasn't a virtuous attempt to put Christmas in the right perspective, just a reaction to my own reluctance and sadness! I'm glad you like it though!

  3. Well said, Helene, and an excellent reminder of those who are experiencing so much sorrow and difficulty this Christmas season. There is no peace on earth perhaps, but there is peace in Him as well as comfort. He came into the world of darkness and He understands ours.

  4. Amen! He is peace and light and He blesses those who mourn!

  5. I love this reminder. Being ready for Christ is always more important than being commercially ready for the holidays. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I am ready for Jesus also. Christmas decorations are low key this year and my focus is more on my son's wedding but the gift of Jesus is worth waiting for. Blessings to you and yours.

  7. It's always great to remember that the challenges we face aren't new...they are similar to the challenges being faced by those who lived in the world into which Jesus was born. He's familiar with them and He's bringing light to our darkness, too. Thanks for the reminder!

  8. Shannon, I couldn't agree more! The darkness isn't new to the Light-Bringer!

  9. Thanks for sharing. While Christmas is so joyous to some, many are ready for no other part of the celebration than Christ Himself!