Outside Circle by Jan Swan Wood: Rest for the weary
Christmas 2020 is nearly here. It has been a really strange year for everyone. The uncertainty of so much that’s going on has led to stress, anger, confusion, and division in our country like I’ve never seen in my very nearly six decades of living.
In scripture it states that there’s no new thing under the sun. This angst we’re all experiencing is different but not new. It’s happened over and over since the beginning of time. Through it all, God is neither surprised or unprepared for what happens here. He already knows the outcome.
So, if He isn’t taken by surprise and also knows the outcome, it says to me that He is in control. Always. No matter what folly people engage in, He’s still in control.
Since the early books of the Old Testament, it was foretold that there would be a savior come to the world and that He would be both God and man. That savior was, of course, Jesus Christ. Born to humble beginnings in a dark stable amidst animals and to a young carpenter and a teenage girl, Jesus was sent to be the sacrifice for our sins. When He was later crucified on the cross, He fulfilled prophesy and the promise of God.
God grieves over our lives, eventhough He knows both the beginning and the end of each. He also loves us. In John 3:16 it says “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Oh how that has comforted people through the ages. That we are so loved, so treasured, that God does not want us to perish and die in sin, but wants us to join Him in everlasting life in heaven.
So he sent a baby. The very essence of innocence, to be that Lamb of God. At Christmas we celebrate His birth. Even in these difficult and even terrifying times, we can take solace in the story of Christmas. It gives hope to those feeling hopeless and a safe place to rest. “Truly, my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him.” Psalm 62:1.
With all the hustle bustle of the season, shopping, preparing, many obligations and myriad other challenges, that rest is always there. Like a tired child crawling up into the welcoming lap of a loving parent, we can go to the place of complete peace and safety with our creator. God welcomes us every time.
Each time I become distressed over the current events, each time I hear of someone who passed away in this season and the grief that accompanies that, I remind myself that I’m not alone in this. God is there. Jesus Christ is in my heart, the Holy Spirit gives me counsel. I just have to remember to turn toward them.
So, even if Christmas 2020 is completely different than years past, the message of the birth of Christ hasn’t changed. Not once in all of history. The same yesterday, today and tomorrow. No matter what happens in the days and weeks to come, we are all His beloved children. We can all find rest in the message of the manger with the newborn Christ child in it. Find rest in Him.
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Outtagrass Cattle Co. cartoon by Jan Swan Wood for the July 24, 2021, edition of Tri-State Livestock News