By Kristen Banks
For a lot of people, Christmas time is the most wonderful time of year. There’s so much to look forward to. There are parties, gifts, goodies to eat, just to name a few, and it seems like more so than any other, at this time of year, we are reminded of how much we really do have.
But for others, the holidays aren’t a wonderful time of togetherness filled with abundance. For some the holidays are a painful reminder of loss. It’s at this time of year that the absence of those dear to us is highlighted, and the pain of that loss is even more evident than usual.
The worst part about it is the feeling of loneliness. It’s hard to see everyone around you having fun, and reveling in the magic of the season when your own heart is so heavy. It’s hard to feel warm and festive when your soul is so burdened down. You might even feel more distant and alone in a crowd of people than you do in your own home by yourself. Feeling like nobody can understand or not wanting to bring others down can make you feel empty and distant.
While nothing can bring back the ones we’ve lost, there is someone who can fill that empty void with peace, love, and understanding. There is someone who can bring you so much joy and contentment that even if you were the only person alive on a deserted island it would be impossible to feel lonely.
I think the most amazing gift that God ever gave us was the gift of Himself in the form of Jesus sent to this world as a tiny seemingly insignificant babe. The bible says that his name shall be called “Immanuel” which means “God with us.” And He was and because of His obedience in His death, burial, and resurrection He is still with us today.
There has not been one time in my life personally that I have called on the name of Jesus, that He has not heard me and answered. It might have been a prayer said aloud in a group of people, or one whispered alone. It might have just been a thought in my mind, or a silent cry from my heart to His ears. And although it might not have been right away, there has not been one time that I’ve cried out to Him that He hasn’t answered me in a way that sometimes only I could understand.
Maybe it was through the kindness of a friend, an encouraging note, or a peace in my heart that couldn’t be described with words. I have found that the realization that this very real Jesus lives in my heart, and is with me wherever I go has made it impossible for me to ever feel lonely.
Corrie Ten Boom once said, “No pit is so deep that He is not deeper still; with Jesus even in our darkest moments, the best remains and the very best is yet to be.”
I know that life isn’t perfect, and I know hard times still come. I know that nothing can bring back those that we have loved and lost. But I also know that we can still be at peace and have joy and hope even in our darkest hours. And we need never feel alone while there is a Christ to be our savior.
All of the money in the world couldn’t buy you the feelings that I’m talking about. And the most amazing thing about this best of all the gifts ever given, is that it is totally free and available to anyone no matter who you are, where you live, what you look like, or how ‘good’ of a person you are.
So, how do we say thank you for this most wonderful free gift? We say thank you by sharing it with others. We say thank you by showing kindness and understanding to those who are hurting. And maybe, just maybe, even though it’s hard to understand or believe in, they can see Jesus and how really real He is through our hearts and actions.
If I never receive another gift in my whole life this gift has been more than enough. And because it has meant so much to me, and was the greatest gift I was ever given, I wanted to share it with you all as well.
I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas. Know that you are loved, remembered, and thought of fondly. And never forget that He is the reason for the season.