In Real Life

We’ve been surrounded captain! What should we do? Ah, the sounds and signs of Christmas. They’re everywhere we turn, songs on the radio, advertising – even Christmas Captain Crunch makes it to the shelves earlier each year.

The signs of Christmas are unavoidable! Most warm up to it, joining the celebration. It can be a time of joy – filled with reflection, gatherings and celebrating. Christians remember the birth of the Jesus – our Savior and our LORD!

Yet, it is not always a joyous time. For others, annual events are a reminder of loss and loneliness. While the world around them is bouncing with expectation, they can only see what is missing – death of a loved one, estranged connections, or better times long gone.

The world has become a barrage of emptiness – pouring salt into old wounds of the lonely.

If this is you, I am sorry – your sense of loss is real, and it is, well…normal. Please know that you are loved, and we are here to listen. Please also know that another constant we can look to is God.

Jesus reminds us that people who mourn are blessed and will receive comfort. It may not seem it now, but God is always present and ready to receive your cries. Comfort may not come immediately, but those who connect with God through Jesus have a promise of eternity with him in heaven.

I’m reminded of the story behind the song “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” which is based on a Longfellow poem written during the Civil War. Longfellow was feeling the weight from 40,000 dead soldiers, a tragic house fire which took his wife two years prior, and the burdens of caring for his seriously wounded son.

On Christmas morning in 1863, Longfellow hear church bells. He linked pealing bells to remind that God is everywhere! Despite turmoil in the world and his personal life, Longfellow expressed his hope in these words: “God is not dead; nor doth he sleep; the wrong shall fail, the right prevail, with peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Where do you see God today?

God’s shows up in many ways – for Longfellow it was the certainty of the church bells Christmas morning. Some see God in a gentle wind, a calming rain or with nature where God’s handiwork can be admired. If you embrace this season of joy; perhaps there is an opportunity for you to be those church bells to someone feeling down.

No matter where you find God, he is everywhere! God is ready to listen and he is ready to embrace you.

I heard the Bells on Christmas Day, Casting Crowns