Why We Need Christmas

The day after Thanksgiving, our family got out our Christmas decorations, put up the tree, hung our stockings, and even set up lights in front of our house. It’s officially the Christmas season, and it couldn’t have come at a better time!

We were certainly not the first to dig out our Christmas tubs and boxes. This year, people were stringing lights and trimming their trees earlier than ever. 2020 has been a lump of coal, to say it politely, and across the board people have been long anticipating the holiday season. 

This yearning is not just for children excited to open presents on Christmas morning. It’s us, as adults. We need Christmas this year. 

Why is there more attention, focus and enthusiasm for Christmas than usual? Why does it seem we desperately need Christmas to come, the sooner the better?

Collectively, for almost all of us, this year has, well, been a year. It’s a year we’d like to escape, to sucker punch and kick to the curb. It’s been hard, and for some devastating. People have lost opportunities, lost jobs, lost loved ones, lost their sanity in quarantine, lost safety, lost elections, lost peace, lost joy. We’ve lost. With no end in sight, and no light at the end of the tunnel, we feel lost.

And so when the sparkling lights of the Christmas tree glow, and outdoor displays shine bright in the dark (at 5 p.m. – thanks to time change), we feel a flicker of hope that all is not lost.

Christmas is about remembering what was and believing in what could be again. 

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is putting up our Christmas tree. My husband puts the tree together, and then I string the lights and garland. Next, we decorate the tree with ribbons carefully saved from our holiday wedding. Finally, the kids hang all of our ornaments, spanning decades of memories. It’s certainly not a professional job, and not one you’d ever see in a store display, but it’s ours. 

Our Christmas tree holds so many years of special moments and stories, smiles and laughter. It reminds us of the joy and blessings God has given us.

For instance, my favorite ornament on our tree is a construction paper stocking, stitched with yarn by small fingers, and half of the sequins are now missing. On the back is my son’s name, proudly written by a little boy after working on this special project together. It’s trash to most, but one I will always keep and prominently display.

My favorite ornament

There are so many ornaments lovingly made in school classrooms by my children (and their thoughtful teachers), that capture moments and precious faces I don’t want to forget.

Precious faces and memories on the tree

Both my husband and I have ornaments commemorating our first Christmases from our parents, and others from our childhood. And we have special ornaments that we’ve picked out together for our tree.

Each year, when we have the opportunity, my husband and I pick out a special Nativity Christmas ornament.

Our Christmas tree reminds us what’s most important. It’s the One who has shaped our Christmas memories and who holds all our future Christmases.

People long for Christmas, because deep down, even if they don’t understand it, they ache for a Savior. They want someone to save the day – to change what the world has become.

We need peace in the midst of this pandemic. We need joy instead of the constant jockeying for position. We need faith to come against fear and fighting. We need hope to heal the hurting. 

We need Christmas. We need Christ.

Jesus is peace. Jesus is joy. Jesus is the reason for our faith, and the source of our hope.

Christmas not only reminds us of what’s most important, it gives us a glimpse of what could be and should be when we seek the Savior of the World. Only Jesus can restore what we’ve lost. 

He was the One who left the perfection of Heaven to step into our mess. He lived a life without corruption, selfishness and sin. And, because we couldn’t do it on our own, He gave His life to save ours. He gave us hope and life, and that resurrection is available to us, even today.

So, bring on the Christmas carols, mugs of hot chocolate, nativity scenes and candles flickering in the windows. Light up those obnoxious Christmas displays and cover couches with Christmas pillows and blankets. Watch A Charlie Brown Christmas and snuggle together with only the glow of the Christmas tree lights in the room. Christmas is here – and we have reason to celebrate! 

The Light of the World has come! Look for Him this Christmas.

Before the healing

I’m worn out. Sick. Tired. My heart races and mind is frustrated with the events swirling to no foreseeable end. How am I supposed to know which way to turn? Truth is clouded, and I am stuck. The space between us is magnified, leaving emptiness in its wake.

This is the reality for 10 people, as their sufferings and desperation unfolds for us in Luke 17.

As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. As he entered a village there, ten men with leprosy stood at a distance, crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”‭‭

Luke‬ ‭17:11-13

Ten men with leprosy stand outside, separated, tremendously suffering. As Jesus enters the village, those men stand at a distance and begin crying out — Jesus, have mercy on us!

Jesus had come to the village for a specific purpose. But God had also brought together events, even painful circumstances, for each of these 10 men to be standing there, ready to call out for mercy to the Only One who could give it.

Jesus, have mercy on me. Jesus, have mercy on us!

He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.”‭‭

Luke‬ ‭17:14‬a

Jesus looks at them. He acknowledges each one, as valuable, and worth His time and His healing power. However, in that moment, He doesn’t heal them. He gives them a command that doesn’t make sense or that gives resolution.

“Go and show yourselves to the priests.”

The reason a leper would go to the priest is to receive acknowledgment and proclamation of healing. But, these 10 men aren’t healed. By law they aren’t allowed to be anywhere near those who are clean and whole. How can they present themselves for examination by the priest if their bodies are still in decay? And yet, this man they call Master, answers their cry for mercy with this command – Go.

God calls us to step forward in faith and walk as though we are healed before we are actually healed.

As Jesus speaks, He is assuring these 10 of their healing and asking them to believe Him by doing what He says. God’s promise is true before it is fulfilled.

And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy.

‭‭Luke‬ ‭17:14‬b

As they go, they are healed. They receive the miracle God’s mercy has extended through the word of Jesus.

One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan.‭‭

Luke‬ ‭17:15-16‬

All 10 lepers are healed. All of them realize they were healed. One of them comes back. The other nine continue on to the priests for the official statement of their healing. One returns to The One who had healed him.

This time, though, the former leper doesn’t stand at a distance and call out to the One who had given him mercy. He rushes to Jesus and falls at His feet.

God’s healing isn’t only about curing our sickness – it’s about eliminating the space between us and Him.

God wants us as close to Him as possible, and He will do whatever is necessary to draw us near.

How then how should we live, how do we approach a world of anxiety, chaos, lies and separation?

Call out to Jesus! Ask Him for mercy, for direction, for how to even find the path forward. 

  • God, where are You commanding us to live in Your promise before it is fulfilled – before we can see it?
  • Where are You asking us to believe You?
  • Would you teach us how to gear all of our energy, thoughts and actions through that belief?

Jesus, show us how to step forward healed, even before we actually are.