“For unto us a child is born …”
My wife and I have been blessed with four beautiful children. In 2006 we decided to try to get pregnant for the first time … once again in 2008, again in 2009, and again in 2011. “Be fruitful and multiply” is one of our favorite commands in the Bible!
Although we chose to bring children in to this world, none of our kids actually chose to be born. In fact no one alive has ever chosen to be born … that is no one except Jesus. Jesus is the only One to ever choose to be born, the only Person to choose to enter our broken world. I believe it’s something He still chooses to do today.
As happy as this time of year can be for many of us, I know that joy and happiness are not a reality for everyone. For some, dreams have been shattered and life has felt broken. I know people recently diagnosed with cancer. I know people who have lost their husbands or wives through divorce or separation. I know families that have been torn apart. I know parents who have lost children and children who have lost parents. I know men and women who have lost their jobs. As merry as this time of year is for some, for others it is lonely and it’s painful and it hurts. And it is there that Jesus wants to meet us.
Psalm 40 starts out by saying “I waited patiently for the Lord and He turned and heard my cry.” It ends by saying, “As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me.” I love that! “The Lord takes thought of me.” I love when my wife sends me a text or a note that simply says, “I’m thinking of you.” To be thought of, to be noticed … it feels like an emotional hug.
When we experience the brokenness on the inside of us and on the outside of us, it’s easy to believe that God has forgotten us. But, if Christmas has shown us anything, it shows that that we are incapable of being unnoticed by God. God has a long history of hearing the cries of His people and entering in to their hurt and longing to provide shelter in His living embrace.
Throughout the New Testament, one of the defining characteristics of the life of Christ was compassion. When He saw the hurting, the lonely, the poor, the enslaved, the broken, He was “moved with compassion” for them … literally moved on the inside. He was willing to allow Himself to be touched by what touched someone else and to be moved by what moved someone else. This is empathy … a willingness to feel in to another person’s pain, to take on their perspective and enter in to their world. So often I see myself back away from the places or people that are uncomfortable or difficult, but so compassionate was Jesus that He was willing not just to see another person’s pain, but to enter in to their pain and to empathize with their weaknesses.
On Christmas, as we celebrate Jesus entering in to our world, I pray that we will remember that He’s also willing to enter our personal world … that we are not, nor will we ever go unnoticed by Him. He’s still willing to be moved with compassion and shelter us in His loving embrace. As He does, I believe we will find that the presence of the right Person will make all the difference in the world.