Every year, a large part of our globe celebrates the birth of Christ while others wonder what the fuss is all about. Does the incarnation of Jesus cause real change in our lives, or is Christmas just a nice story meant to lift our spirits? I’d like to give three recent examples of how my relationship with Christ has impacted my life.
Dealing with suffering and death. Two months ago, I visited my 92-year-old mother for the first time in over three years due to the pandemic and our being on opposite sides of the ocean. I was heartbroken to see how her health has declined—she can no longer do anything by herself—and she’s occasionally so weak that it leads me to wonder how much time she has left.
Instead of falling into despair, I’ve found strength and comfort in the promises of Jesus. They remind me that he has defeated death and that our world isn’t our ultimate destination—it’s only the first act. Thanks to Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection, believers can have a relationship with God and the guarantee of being with him when our time on earth is up.
So, when I looked at Mom’s condition from heaven’s perspective, I could find peace despite the sorrow, thanks to the assurance that she’ll be restored one day. Jesus made that happen.
Dealing with daily problems. My Toyota wouldn’t start, but I wasn’t too concerned as I called my mechanic, assuming it was something minor. Boy, was I wrong! The engine had cracked, and repairing the car would exceed its value. For the next day or two, I was in shock and filled with sadness, but eventually, I started listening to God’s still voice that reminded me that I needn’t face this plight alone. He was with me every step of the way.
Throughout life, we constantly face major ordeals and many minor irritations. I’ve found that having a close relationship with God helps me keep the proper perspective. An example is the case of my dead car, which, although a major inconvenience and painful to the pocketbook, was—after all—no tragedy. The Lord helped me evaluate the situation correctly and gave me his peace, wisdom, and the means to get another vehicle.
Dealing with fear. Watching too much news during the last two years has been a surefire way to increase my anxiety level, but it’s certainly not the only one. Fear is the natural reaction to danger—and without it, not many of us would probably survive all the reckless daredevil stunts we’d try. Fear makes us cautious, but it can also take over our thoughts, controlling our actions and paralyzing us.
“Don’t be afraid” is the most often repeated command in the Bible, but it’s easier said than done! Scripture also provides a blueprint for defeating our anxiety—by trusting God instead of what our fears tell us. This strategy may sound simplistic, but I’ve found it works. Whenever my apprehension rises, threatening to overwhelm me, I turn to God’s Word and promises, and his peace fills my heart.
In conclusion, these three benefits—and many more—are possible because Jesus was born into our world. Thanks to his life and death, those who trust in him can enjoy a close relationship with God. His presence and ongoing assistance are always near, meaning we don’t have to navigate the rough waters of life alone. Isn’t that a reason to celebrate this Christmas?