It’s been about a week and a half since the fire truck and ambulance hurried into the cul-du-sac. It’s not a common occurrence in my little corner of the world, so I went out to see what was happening. I was horrified to see my neighbor lying on the ground in his back yard surrounded by paramedics. His teenage son was walking around with his hands on his head, obviously worried. As I stood there and watched, I prayed for my neighbor. I don’t really know him or much about him. We wave as we pass each other on occasion. And I can’t say that we’ve ever really had a conversation. But still, he’s my neighbor, so I prayed.

During my prayer, I asked the Lord to heal him. As I prayed, I stopped when the words…”oh don’t let their Christmas be ruined” came out of my mouth. I thought about those words after I spit them out. I thought about the loss we had of a family member and the fact he won’t be celebrating Christmas here on earth anymore. I thought about another family member fighting cancer. I also thought about the new addition God brought into our lives this year. And I thought about how easily the circumstances of life can dampen our joy. I thought about how our sorrow and sadness take away from the celebration. I thought about how hard Christmas can be when we are struggling through trials and tribulations.

I have spent some time thinking about this and how it relates to Christmas. And I realized that without Christmas, there would be nothing to celebrate. There would be no hope for healing. There would be no comfort in trials. There would be no promise of heaven after death. Without Christmas, we would be hopeless. The coming of Christ means that we don’t have to do life alone anymore. We have the Lord to guide us, as well as walk with us through the toughest situations we face. We have the Comforter who wraps us in love when we can’t see the light in the midst of our worst nightmare. Christmas is the fulfillment of the promise that God would always be with us.

My neighbor came home a couple of days ago. Or at least I think he did. His Christmas display has been lit up for the last couple of nights. While he was gone, it remained dark. As I reflect on life and all of its happenings since last Christmas, I remember those who are not celebrating with us this year. They are celebrating around the throne. I think about those that are sick and I pray for Jesus to heal them. I think about how hard life has been over the last year and I celebrate because the Lord was with me every step of the way. I am thankful a loving God chose to send His Son so that I would have a reason to hope.

Thank you Lord for sending Immanuel…God with us!


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