Christmastime is a great reminder.
The candles are lit and sparkling beside the nativity. They focus my mind. No doubt we have fancied and freshened that holy night so long ago.
My nativity. Each piece set in just the right spot. I love these earthy colored pieces I have collected over the years. I have several Christmas collections, from Santas to Nutcrackers to reindeer. But this one? It speaks to my heart in such a deep way. Recently, I have begun adding my Advent candles to the display. I’m so glad I have! There is such a deep, beautiful peace residing in this scene. It draws me in.
Have you ever gone through something so challenging you felt as if you lost God? Or, maybe you thought, He just left. Circumstances and pain erect a barrier so dense it is hard to sense any Presence?
I have. It was the darkest, scariest period of my life. Everything I believed seemed in question and the pain threatened to choke all hope from my heart. Sometimes that happens in life. He warned us it would come. We all face trouble at some point. We are often surprised, shocked, and even, disabled by it. I was struggling.
But, here today, I don’t want to focus on that. Just believe me when I say it was a dark night of the soul. Even in that darkest moment, a miracle flicker of light began to shine through. When I was feeling God had left me, He spoke to me loudly and clearly.
I knew then and there He does not leave us or turn His back on us. Our pain in the darkness often hides the light, but He remains by our side. Where was I looking?
I was distracted by the pain. I lost sight of Him.
He is amazing that way. This giving of the greatest gift.
Christmas is the greatest reminder of the greatest love. Yes, He came on that holy night for us. But, it is a beautiful reminder to me He came and He never leaves. Joy and hope flutter to life in my heart when I sit and remember how He is forever with me.
Our lives crash into the world’s agenda and, inevitably, pain and hurt comes.
Real, life-altering pain. Chaos and crises run rampant. But, we can rest in the knowing He is with us.
Ann Voskamp said in her book, The Greatest Gift, “No matter what intends to harm you…God is never absent, never impotent, never distant. You can never be undone.” That thing that was meant to destroy you and make you think God no longer sees or cares, will not be your end. In fact, He has a great way of taking all the broken, ugly bits and turning them into the most beautiful creation.
God will use it to set you apart from the crowd.
Yes, the lion roars and speaks lies of hopelessness and desertion and death. But, God. He intends no such thing. I don’t believe all things happen for a reason. It just doesn’t work. But, I do believe He takes all things thrown our way and will redeem them for our good. Now, that works.
And, while He is at it, He stays right there with us.
The JOY to come from such a realization is priceless. So, sitting here looking at my nativity and thinking of days gone by and the ones yet to come, I can rest in the knowledge I am never lost, forgotten or abandoned.
His very coming is proof. Proof of His abiding love.
Such joy comes from realizing no matter what comes my way, He’s got me. No scheme of man or evil plan will ever remove me from His hand. So, allow this Christmastime to set this truth in your heart. Every time you see a nativity, allow it to remind you of His never-ending presence in your life that was made possible because of that holiest of nights.