It’s Saturday morning here and I am preparing for a full day of work. In the midst of my preparations I feel a sense of anticipation over many things, but especially the unique opportunities to minister to people in need. There are increased opportunities to share the story of Jesus Christ, given the Christmas season. With the intensity of emotions that the holidays bring, there are also more opportunities to share the love and comfort of Christ, even in the midst of disappointment which people feel.
While I try to seek out people who are in need all year long, the holidays seem to filter them to the surface more than any other time of the year. They hurt. During the course of the year the hurt often is placed on the back burner, a kind of compartmentalized section of their hearts and minds which they can almost forget; almost dull the pain with distractions of pleasure, work, anything to mute the persistant agony. But during the Christmas season those painful feelings tend to rise to the surface involuntarily. The hurt simply is too much to keep sequestered. The loss of a loved one. The pain of divorce. Memories of battlefield violence. The harsh penetrating fear of crime relived. Poor choices and regret. Addictions and what might have been. Those things and so many others can rise to the surface in the hearts of broken hearted people–even children–and inflict once again the harsh cycle of heart-wrenching pain. It is one reason why the holidays experience a spike in stress levels, heart attacks and suicides. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There is hope. There is joy, even in the most dire of situations.
Are you hurting? Do you feel unrelenting grief or regret? Do painful memories plague your heart and mind? Jesus said, “Come to me all you who labor and are heavy-laden and I will give you rest.” He calls you to make the choice which you have the power to make; the choice to lay your burdens at the foot of the cross. He loves you. And no matter who you are or what you think you have done, he gently prompts you, by the Holy Spirit, to lay aside all those things which so easily beset you, and to allow the surprising joy of the Lord to fill your heart, even as you place your trust in Jesus Christ. So whether you are a Children’s Pastor, as many of my readers are, or a homemaker, parent, husband or wife, child, scholar, or a regular hard working person, know this: Jesus loves you. The secret pain you have tried so long to bear down deeply does not need to burden you any longer. Won’t you respond to Jesus and allow him to heal your heart and your hurt?
If this message has helped you and if you would like to speak more about it or request prayer, please feel free either to comment on this post or to email me directly for private conversation. My email is glen @ glenwoods.net.