Just because someone carries it well doesn’t mean it isn’t heavy. The saying, “God will never give you more than you can handle” is popular and even comforting, but it is not necessarily Biblical. Because after all, the times when we think we literally cannot handle anymore are the times we are most likely to run to Jesus. He is our Sustainer, the Perfecter of our faith, our Strong Tower, our Mighty Fortress, just to name a few. Jesus will never disappoint us. We don’t ever have to doubt Him. He is completely and totally trustworthy.
But life feels heavy these days, doesn’t it? I sense weariness. 2020 has been hard. I don’t need to recount it. You know it. I know it. But, here we are in December and as believers, we know what the Baby lying in the manger means. Hope. Joy. Immanuel. God With Us. Let me say that again, God With Us.
Jesus has not been surprised by the events and happenings of 2020. He has not needed to do some reshuffling because things occurred that He wasn’t prepared for. He is, has always been, and will always be Immanuel. All things were created through Him and by Him (Colossians 1:16). He came and lived among His creation. He walked with His creation. Immanuel. He gave His own life so that the lives of His creation would be spared. He took our place. He rose from the grave defeating death so that we would also. His creation. You and me. Immanuel. As he walked to the cross, He wasn’t taken by surprise. He didn’t need to scramble and come up with a new plan. When things looked like they were spinning out of control, everything was falling into place. Into His sovereign plan.
So, here we are in December of a trying year. But, do you know what I think Jesus wants us to see? That Baby lying in the manger. That Baby that signifies Hope, Joy, Life. That Baby points us to the Cross and the Empty Tomb.
He came as a Baby and the 33 years that He lived a perfect life were not easy. Was it more than He could humanly handle? Check out Matthew 26:39 where Jesus cries out to God asking if there is any other way for the Father’s will to be accomplished. Too much to handle? Jesus in His humanness was totally distraught by His circumstances. But who did He run to? His Father. For his 33 human years, He kept His eyes on His Father. He trusted His Father.
He was born like us, walked among us, died for us and then defeated death for us. To be like us. To be an example for us. We are to imitate Him. In the good times and in the trying times. And, the promise as believers has never been an easy carefree life. But we keep our eyes on Jesus. We stare at the manger hoping to get a glimpse of the Baby . Because the promise may not be a life without struggle, but the promise of the Baby in the manger is most definitely Hope, Peace, Joy, and Life.
I can’t think of a better reason to stare into the manger and fix our eyes on Jesus this Christmas. Maybe this year we can stare a little longer. Maybe we can delve into His Word and remember His promises. Maybe we can sit at His feet.
As a believer, here are 13 promises you can take to the bank:
- Do not fear, God is with you. He will strengthen you and help you (Isaiah 41:10)
- He will keep in perfect peace those who are mindful of Him (Isaiah 26:3)
- The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you. He will never leave you (Deut 31:8)
- He will fight for us; we only need to be still (Exodus 14:14)
- We will have troubles in this world but Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33)
- He will give you rest (Matthew 11:28)
- We are free because He has set us free (John 8:36)
- You are His Child (John 1:12)
- You have access to God (Ephesians 3:12)
- You are forgiven by the blood of Christ (Colossians 2:13-14)
- You will not be condemned (Romans 8:1)
- You have a place prepared specifically for you in God’s House (John 14:2-3)
- Nothing will separate you from Jesus (Romans 8:38-39)
I don’t know about you, but this Christmas, I may just stare a little longer at the Baby in the manger in hopes that He will remind me of the empty tomb. I may put up a few extra lights around the house in hopes that I will fix my eyes on the Light of the World and He, who has overcome. I will definitely sit at His feet a little longer in hopes that He quiets my soul long enough for me to drown out the noise and hear His voice. Immanuel. God With Us. Giver of All Good Things.
Thank you, Jesus for the many blessings you have given me this year. You never promised it would be easy, but you promise you will always be with me. I’m taking it to the bank.