One thing you can be guaranteed at this time of year in Scotland is that it will be cold outside. You can see the vapour of your breath clearly in the freezing air. You know that going out the house without a big jacket will not end well. And, for me, I know that I must have some hot black coffee in my travel mug when I go out the door! But it got me thinking that it isn’t just our physical body that feels the cold at this time of year. The drop in temperature seems to affect many other areas in our lives in real and tangible ways affecting our relationships and our spiritual life.
A season of celebration usually brings up many opportunities to bring the wider family network back together for a few hours or even a few days. This can be a wonderful time and a great blessing. But it is often the case that there are hurts from the past, issues which are unresolved, disagreements between parents and children, jealousy caused by desiring someone else’s life. A gift of great blessing can easily descend into a cold environment. And still Jesus comes knowing full well the trials of family. We see in the advent story that even his own family in Bethlehem would not find him a place to stay (Luke 2:4-7). Broken promises and broken relationships are precisely what Jesus came to restore.
For some this may be a busy time of year, but for others this is a period which they do not like. All the good things which they looked forward to in the past are no longer their experience. Loved ones may no longer be with us, our relationship has become so fractured that we don’t see someone we really care about. And still Jesus comes knowing the reality of loneliness and the effects of broken relationships; remember he is the king of the cross. We have a saviour who is not distant, but very near, who understands; he is God with us in our real life (Matt 1:22-23).
It is ironic that at a time which is set aside to celebrate the coming of Jesus this is usually the last thing that many people do. More often than not there is a wide spread celebration of materialism focusing only on what the eye can see and the senses experience. I want to be clear, some of these things are good. Having a nice meal together is good. Enjoying a beautiful and sacrificial gift from a spouse is good. But are they celebrated in our hearts more than the Lord Jesus? What is our heart thermostat like when it comes to Jesus in the midst of all the demands of this time of year?
No matter our life circumstances the wonderful news we celebrate is that God has come to people like you and me who live as though he doesn’t exist. He has given us a gift which is far more beautiful and far more wonderful than anyone else could ever give to us. In Jesus we have our wrongs dealt with and our lives transformed (Matt 1:21). Is that not a gift worth celebrating! Is that not truly good news for all the peoples (Luke 2:10)? We may very well be cold spiritually, but Jesus has come to bring new life and to put a fire in our hearts burning to the glory of God.
I pray that during this season the Lord would do great and wonderful things in your lives, revealing more of Jesus to you, bringing healing and restoration into your lives.