Christmas during tragedy

Well, it has been quite some time since I have written here and I feel like I am just trying to keep up with life as the time is flying by so quickly. These past few weeks have been filled with changes, growth, very late homework nights, road trips to Southern California, adventures in San Francisco, worship planning, family/friend visits, and simply enjoying some time with Jesus. This place definitely feels like home to me and I feel like I can call myself a local….well, almost. The few times I have traveled back to SoCal to visit have felt different to me and I know it’s because that place is truly no longer my home. I have been so greatly blessed by the wonderful people I have gotten to know here and have truly sensed God’s peace while living here.

A wonderful update I have is that I’ve finally completed my Master’s degree program!! It is such a great feeling to be done and I know I have only been able to finish this program thanks to the help/encouragement of friends, family, and my gracious God who somehow gave me the time to do all of this. I never planned on receiving my Master’s degree, but it just proves that God’s plan is much better than my own. It still hasn’t really sunken in yet, but maybe it will feel more real after I walk down the graduation aisle at APU in 2 weeks. Another life experience done and I’m looking forward to the next season the Lord has planned. I’m thankful for the challenges I’ve faced this season as they have taught me how to trust in God rather than in people. My flesh is very weak indeed, but in those moments of weakness, God is so much more powerful in my life.

One thing that has been on my mind lately is the sad even that happened in San Bernardino. This hits really close to home and it’s evident of the changing times. When tragedy strikes, what are we to do? I’m talking about a true tragedy and not just a bad hair day. My heart truly goes out to those who are in pain, especially during this time of year. I have been seeing and hearing about the aftermath of such a tragic event, and I’ll be honest, I’m not quite sure how to respond.

In such a time as this, what kind of words could help ease pain? I have never had anyone close to me experience death (I was too young to remember the funerals of older relatives), but I know a season will come when I have to go through such pain. I can’t imagine what it will feel like and only those who have experienced it truly know what others feel.

After an event like this, it causes people to pull their loved ones closer, appreciate life a little more, keep a close eye on their children, and be extra alert in their neighborhoods and workplaces. But as time goes on, we forget and we continue life as normal. Until the next chaotic event strikes….

The Christmas season is here and it’s by far my favorite time of year, not because of the commercialism that the world has created it to be. There is something deeper behind the face of Christmas. I love it because it’s a time when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the one who saved our lives. Everything that is Christmas came into being because of His wonderful birth. The Christmas carols are filled reflection upon that glorious night when He was humbly born in a manger, of all places.

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Saviour’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
‘Til He appear’d and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees! O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.

Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,
His power and glory evermore proclaim.

What powerful truth lies in the lyrics of O Holy Night. The decorated trees, bright shining lights, presents, and carols were once intended to be a celebration for the birth of Jesus. Yes, the world may have turned it into something commercialized and a money-making scheme, but we don’t have to let Christmas be that way. We don’t have to be a Grinch towards the season just because the world wants to make it into something different. We can embrace the lights, trees, and gift-giving as a way to remember Jesus.

In the midst of tragedy and chaos, Christmas is still celebrated by many people. It’s the one time of year when we can get away from political correctness and sing songs about Jesus. Just think about it, songs like Joy to the World, Silent Night, The First Noel, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, and Silent Night are just some of the beautiful songs that point towards the birth of Jesus…and people like Michael Buble and Mariah Carrey sing these songs!! What a wonderful season…that’s why I truly love this time of year. That’s why when November hits, it’s hard for me to wait to sing the Christmas songs. Because I love thinking about the time when Jesus was born. As Relient K sings in my favorite song called I Celebrate the Day:

“And the first time that You opened Your eyes,
Did You realize that You would be my Savior?
And the first breathe that left Your lips,
Did you know that it would change this world forever?”

I wonder if baby Jesus knew what was happening the day He opened His eyes and all the angels, shepherds, and wisemen were rejoicing at the sight of Him. And many years later, He would be the One to have saved my life and gave me a reason to live. What a humbling thought..

In the aftermath of tragedy, there is Hope.
During the times of fear, there is a God who will fight for us.
In the middle of trials, He understands the battle.
During the moments of confusion, He brings peace.
In the midst of mourning, He will comfort us.

The Great all-knowing God is by our side if we simply let go and trust in Him.

May Jesus be our vision to help us carry on through this life and may we be aware of those around us who need a glimpse of hope during this time. May we celebrate the Christmas season thanking Jesus for His birth.

Jesus was born for this purpose:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
-John 3:16

Who can add to Christmas? The perfect motive is that God so loved the world. The perfect gift is that He gave His only Son. The only requirement is to believe in Him. The reward of faith is that you shall have everlasting life. ~Corrie Ten Boom

Merry Christmas my friends.

 

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