If you are anything like me, you feel like you are running on nothing but fumes this time of year. I am sputtering and coasting and just hoping to make it to Christmas when I can crash in a heap of exhaustion from the days and weeks now behind me but still very much weighing me down. It’s the cumulative effect of days and weeks (and frankly months) of busyness – of ignoring the rhythm of rest my mind, body, and spirit require. It’s the impact of countless tragedies, magnified and intensified by the fact they occurred before Christmas. And so I limp through December, slowly and steadily (and crankily) moving towards Christmas. And then I crash. And I’m guessing I’m not alone…
But in the midst of it all remains the reason for this special time of year – Jesus. And I’m thankful that although each year I do a poor job of slowing down to connect with and honor him, he never fails to reveal himself to me. It seems that each year he shows up in a special and unique way and often through song. I’d been waiting to discover which song would strike me this season – which song would I suddenly find myself playing on repeat as I sing at the top of my lungs. (Music plus Jesus tend to have that affect on me.) And then it happened…driving to a family Christmas last Sunday morning “Light of the Stable” by Selah came on my radio and suddenly there was a catch in my throat and tears in my eyes.
Hail, hail to the newborn King
Let our voices sing Him our praises
Hail, hail to the guiding Light
That brought us tonight to our Savior
I almost pulled over. In all the busyness. In all my stress. In all of my sadness for those who are scared or suffering because of a recent loss or life change, there’s Jesus. There’s a Savior. There’s God with skin on. Straight from heaven to a lowly stable. “For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given.” (Isaiah 9:6) And my voice raises in praise to Him. Hail Hail to the Newborn King!
Come now, let it shine so bright
To the knowing Light of the stable
Kneel close to the Child so dear
Cast aside your fear and be thankful
And I am deeply thankful. God took on flesh and dwelt among us. I could not comprehend his divinity, but He knew I could understand his humanity. So he drew close. “Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation…God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things. (Colossians 1:15, 19-20)” Jesus enters the sad and scary places in our lives and brings peace and comfort. God crashes into creation. And yes, I’m thankful and hit my knees (Figuratively speaking, I am still driving after all).
So as I headed home for a much needed break from the busyness with time to finally focus on the meaning of Christmas, I knew that first I would run out of the fumes that had been precariously sustaining the frantic pace I’d been keeping, and I’d crash. Despite the mud and muck happening in my own life and the lives of many of those around me so poetically reflected in the drab, rainy weather outside, it was time to pause and praise Jesus Messiah. The ultimate Christmas miracle – our Savior born in a stable. And then I drove into my hometown and witnessed a much smaller miracle, but a miracle nonetheless…a thin white layer of snow covered the ground. Somehow the world seemed right again – brighter and more peaceful. Reverently ready to receive a Savior. And so as I pulled into my parents’ home, I crashed from exhaustion and from gratefulness. I crashed. I crashed into my Savior’s arms – sin forgiven. I crashed into Jesus – relationship restored. I crashed into Christmas. Peace on the earth. Good will towards men. Hope is here. Hallelujah.