I think I have stated this before, but if not, winter and Christmas are my favorite time of the year. I love everything about this time of the year that I sometimes lose track of the real reason for the season, the focus of where my mind and my heart should be and I get caught up in the commercialism of the holidays and the movies and music and the decorations that I forget to go deeper, and often times by the time I realize it the time has come and passed and I feel guilty and ashamed for not placing a greater focus on the important thing, on the birth of my Savior, and I have a feeling if others were honest they would agree and feel the same way. This year I want to be different, I don;t want to focus so much on the temporal things that surround this holiday, but the eternal impact that this season brings. Without the birth of our Lord and savior there would be no way back to the Lord, no way for forgiveness, no hope, no future. For me, that is the best news ever and that is what I want to celebrate and remember and cherish every year at this time.
Today I went to my moms church for a Christmas luncheon and the guest speaker actually came from Illinois to speak to us about the gift of suffering. I know it sounds kind of dark and depressing, but it really wasn’t at all. She talked about health issues both her and her husband ended up undergoing and how going through that time of suffering drew them closer to God and taught them just how dependent upon the Lord they are, how every single breath that we draw is a gift given to us upon the Lord and how suffering, if we allow it, can be a sweet time of drawing closer to our Father and she talked about Ecclesiastes 3:11 which says, ” He has made everything beautiful in its time.” She placed emphasis on the past tense of made and spoke about how when she made her son (their 6th child) with down syndrome He knew Jonathan was beautiful and would be a gift to their family. She said suffering definitely comes with raising a special needs child but the joy and love and laughter that are reaped from the suffering and hardship are worth it and that Jonathan is their gift. I was so blessed in hearing what she said and it struck me when she said that suffering has the potential and ability to be such a gift if we will seek the treasures the Lord has in our circumstances and I have seen people who are strong believers undergo suffering and I have seen the peace the Lord has given them and the blessings that some people are able to obtain and so even though I have not yet endured much suffering I know the Lord works all things out for good and “He made everything beautiful in its time.”
This is the Jesus I serve, this is the baby who laid in a manger and would go on to live a perfect life free of sin so that He could be the spotless lamb and die for our sins so that we might live eternally. This is why we need to celebrate this season, not the movies and music, not decorating the tree, but because our Savior was born.