Well, it’s almost here! The celebration you’ve been planning, anticipating and nearly running yourself ragged for is now just a day away. As we welcome Christmas Eve, I want to encourage you to pause and take a moment to reflect on the goodness of God. I know you have things to do and that you may even be feeling stressed as you read this, but right now, I urge you to step into Jesus’ presence and be still, if only for a few minutes.
For a moment, allow your imagination to take you to Bethlehem. Envision a crowded town full of people who wouldn’t normally be there (sound like the holidays?). A very pregnant teenage girl and her fiance arrive after a long journey and she is on the verge of going into labor. Desperate to find a place to for her to have the baby, Joseph goes to see the innkeeper and pleads with him for a room, but he tells him that there are none available. Running out of options, the young man finds a stable full of animals (and ripe with their odor), and he and his wife settle down there while they wait for the baby to arrive. Far from everyone they know, they are in an extremely vulnerable position, surrounded only by livestock. Doesn’t sound too ideal, does it? And yet from those humble circumstances, humanity’s greatest hope emerged. As the newborn baby cried, the Light of the World was given a voice that will never again be silenced, not even by death!
Friend, if God sent His Son to the earth in these circumstances, I encourage you not to be discouraged by yours. Even if things are crazy, lonely, or less than ideal, remember that the greatest light emerges from the thickest darkness. Science shows that people naturally lean towards the negative and there are always those in your life who will be ready to point out how limited you are or how impossible your future is. When dream-poachers shoot their spears of discouragement into your heart, you can encourage yourself with the birth of Jesus. Remember how He entered the world and where He ended up. Beginnings never determine endings, so stand fast and embrace every one of your seasons with confident assurance that you will get to where you are supposed to be!