Each year, Christmas arrives in the midst of whatever is happening in life.  For most of us, our lives are a mixture of the good and bad, the joyful and hard, the successes and failures, along with what is going right and what is terribly wrong.  But wherever we are this Christmas, I have a prayer that something will happen to each of us over the days ahead.

I pray that each of us will receive something from God.  Not something that comes in a wrapped package.  Not something that is found underneath a colorfully lit tree.  Not something we only encounter on Christmas.  Something only our Savior can give us.  And what our Savior has to give each of us is not only quite special, but very unique, life changing and transforming.  

Some of us need strength. We are depleted.  Maybe we are in that place where we have learned that relying on our own strength sometimes is not enough and ultimately is not going to cut it.  We know we need a power far greater than ourselves to help us and we are in that place ready to finally receive that power, that strength.  

For those of us who need strength and know it, “Unto us a Savior is born” and our Savior wants to give us the strength we need for whatever it is.  His strength.  Our Savior says to us, “Come to me, all of you who are worn out and burdened and I will give you rest.  Come to me and I will give you the strength you need.”  

Some of us, however, may need something else. Maybe we are in that place where our hearts are heavy and our spirits are troubled because issues of forgiveness are consuming us in one way or another  

We know we need to forgive ourselves, but perhaps just can’t.  We know we need to forgive another, but it seems impossible.  We know we have to let go and that bitterness is doing us no good.  And for those of us in such a place, “Unto us a Savior is born.”  A  Savior who wants to deal with whatever it is when it comes to forgiveness.  Our Savior says to us, “Turn the struggle over to me.  All is forgiven.  All will be well.   Let go of guilt.  Be free from the weight of it all.”  

But perhaps there are others of us whom are filled with fear, worry or trepidation.  Maybe we are consumed with angst.  Despite our best efforts, living in the moment is a foreign concept and our minds are consumed with all the “what if” questions imaginable.  For those of us in a place of dis-ease, “Unto us a Savior is born.”  Our Savior wants to free us from fear and invites us to turn it all over to God, to let go, to let God deal with whatever it is, and to receive a strong trust in God that replaces our fear.   

Some of us, however, in the midst of all the delight, may be dealing with loss or are really missing someone who is gone.  For those of us in such a place, “Unto us a Savior is born.”  A Savior who shattered the tomb of death and rose again reminding us all, that through our Savior, eternity awaits us.  

An eternity beyond description.  A space beyond our five senses in which all is well, all is beautiful, all is the way it is supposed to be.  “Unto us a Savior is born” to remind us to live with hope and count on the fact there is so much more going on than meets the eye, so we can go ahead and live right now without concern about the future or those we miss and see no longer.  

And finally, may be in need of something that transcends everything and that is love.  For those of us who need love, the right kind of love that changes everything, “Unto us a Savior is born.”   A Savior whose essence is love.  

A Savior who was born to show us that God is love, that all that matters in the end is love, and that the purpose of life is love.  That love has been the point, remains the point, and will forever be the point.  Loving God with all our hearts, minds, soul and strength and loving other people by what we do moment to moment.  And for those of us who need the love only God can offer, a love which is permanent, healing, lavish, deep, profound, and unconditional, “Unto us a Savior is born.”

I know first hand the complex challenges, heartaches, pains and pitfalls of life.  I know that there is a heck of a lot of bad in the midst of all that is great and wonderful and good.  But through it all, we have a Savior, whose birth we celebrate.  We have Jesus who has been given to you and to me to free us to live with joy and confidence.

And we can live with joy because we have a Savior who gives us the strength we need, a Savior who has dealt with and responds to any and all issues of forgiveness, a Savior who empowers us to let go of fear, a Savior who had taken care of death so we can live with hope, and a Savior who shows us the path, the purpose, and the reason for it all, which is love.

Merry Christmas!