Christmas is just around the corner. For most of us, the holiday brings feelings of love and good cheer. But for others, it’s a time of deep despair and suffering. How can this be?!? As it turns out, our world is broken, and often, so are we. December can bring death and grief, sickness, and poverty. Therefore, Christmas can be a sufferer’s holiday for some people. For Christians, it is also the holiday for a sufferer: Jesus Christ, the cure for our self-inflicted brokenness. By the way: I’ve been hearing that “brokenness is beautiful!” lately. Well, brokenness is NOT beautiful; it is not how we’re meant to be!
God created a perfect world initially. There was no sickness or death, and the Creator hung out with people. But then they rebelled against Him. Things have gone downhill ever since. But the one we call Jesus Christ eventually came to earth, died, and was raised from the dead to fulfill a promise by the Creator to bring everything back to perfection:
“For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.” (Colossians 1:19-20)
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
His death and resurrection bring life—the cure for what ails us spiritually—if we respond appropriately to God’s call for us to return to Him:
“and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” (1Peter 2:24)
Jesus the Sufferer (on our account) had first to be born as a human, hence the ‘sufferer’s holiday.’ That birth is what some of us celebrate at Christmastime. But will that be the end? No!
“And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.” (Hebrews 9:27-28)
In summary, Christmas is often a holiday when people suffer. It is always a holiday initially pointed at the one born to suffer for us. What’s next? Let’s continue our Christmas theme, but from a lighter point of view in Christmas, the Retold Story!
Blessings and peace,
Dr. Ron Braley