Is it over? The trash cans line the streets for weekly pickup and they’re stuffed with discarded wrapping paper, empty boxes, leftovers from massive overindulgence, ready to be hauled off to the city dump and crushed into a dlandfill. Is this what’s left of Christmas? People hit the shopping malls to return unwanted or improperly sized clothing – redeem gift cards- pick up some bargains on seasonal things. Is this all there is? The carols have been returned to the music shelves – the classic Christmas movies have been replace with science fiction and action/adventure – the state of the world returns from a short hiatus of fake news and continues as usual. Has Christmas made a difference?
One of my favorite Christmas carols is “Away in a Manger,” because the essence of that tiny human being – so helpless and meek – yet powerful, almighty, God. There is no way to wrap my mind around that concept. A child will lead us? A little boy, born into poverty and oppression had left His throne in heaven to pay the only price to relieve us of all our sins?
In the third verse of that precious hymn, we ask the Lord to be near us. This is a prayer we can count on being answered, because of the love our God has for us, in spite of our darkened hearts .
The holiday can cause one of the greatest let downs after it’s over or it can be the new beginning we’ve all longingly waited for. We still think we control our lives. We look at what we’ve accomplished and not what God does through us. We trust in others to govern us – to teach us – to do for us. Why is it so difficult for us to believe that there is someone far greater who is in complete control of our destiny?
Jesus associated with the scum of the earth and then died a pitiful death as a common criminal on a cross. What could a man like that do for us? He came in deep humility to be the perfect sacrifice. He lived in poverty to remind us that His kingdom was not of this world. We still have that hope to look forward to. In the meantime, we can be confident that our dear, Lord, Jesus will be near us, not just during Christmas, but forever.
Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever, and love me I pray
Bless all the dear children, in Thy tender care
And fit us for heaven, to live with Thee there.