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Light in the darkness

Everybody’s got stuff. You know what I mean. We are occupied wrapping presents, attending parades, and eating delicious goodies, but still there lies the stuff that looms in the back of our minds in a quiet house, while we are in the shower, or putting dishes away - the stuff that makes up depression and anxiety. That baggage.

This time of year, known for peace and joy is often a reminder that instead we feel distressed and nervous. Adding Christmas celebrations does not negate the life we still live or pause the fear. This time of year should be merry and bright, but sometimes it is not. Sometimes we simply want to be rescued. The great news is that we have been.

In the Old Testament, the prophets Isaiah and Micah relayed the message to the Israelites that they had a Messiah, a Savior, coming for them. I wonder how they felt hearing the message that He would be called Immanuel, meaning “God With Us.” They learned He would be born in a tiny town called Bethlehem and come from the family of Jesse.

God’s people, the Israelites, had been through an enormous amount of trials through their history. The generations waiting on redemption had experienced slavery and exile. They had manna to provide for their nutritional needs, but after complaining, it was taken away. They begged for a human king, so God obliged, and honestly, they were all duds. Some had respectable qualities, but all had significant flaws.

That peaceful night, by the light of a brilliant star, the Son of God Himself was revealed to the world to save every human in existence from sin. He became our Rescuer. This tiny Baby was fully human and still fully God. He is our Hero.

What kind of redemption are you waiting for? What kind of mud are you tromping through? If we are honest, I would guess every one of us has some kind of “stuff” we desire God to work through. The remarkable realization is that He is working in us and it is all for good. Awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping, mind-blowing good. How in the world would a good God allow such egregious events to plague peoples’ lives? I will admit, while I do not understand Him, I trust He is good.

When I take my girls to the doctor, now that some are old enough to realize what a vaccination is, they cry out of fear. They cry and beg me to keep the nurse from administering the pinch of pain. As much as I would love for them to avoid the prick of the needle, I know that it is for the best. I know the alternative of a life-threatening disease is worse, so the pain now will prevent worse later. Sometimes our loving God allows pain because He knows it is for our best.

Whatever redemption you are waiting for, it is here. Immanuel is here with us and is active in our present lives. We can look up and know He knows our names - He created us! Our lives are worth living. He is our HOPE and SALVATION. He is faithful. Even when He answers my prayers in a way other than how I prayed, He is still faithful. In the darkness we may be experiencing, “in Him is life, and the life is the light of men. That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it” (John 1:4-5). Let us bow down and worship the One Who humbled Himself and came to pursue us that tranquil night while the angels rejoiced. The Lord of all in human form in His earthly mommy's arms while she kissed his sweet cheeks and earthly daddy sat in awe. Merry Christmas, lovelies.

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