I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people!
Within every human being there is an innate desire for more. A hopeful yearning for authentic joy lies behind every celebration. Nothing cultivates joy quite like believing in and experiencing miracles. For a child, the anticipation and excitement of Christmas is magical, full of surprise, and delight. Faith comes easy to a child; hope, dreams and expectation of greater things is what makes up the very essence of a child. As young children we are sure of good things coming; we believe and therefore we are filled with joy and expectation. Unfortunately as we grow older unfulfilled wishes taint our once hopeful faith. Setting the bar low often ends in anti-climatic rewards. It is safe to put a reign on faith and keep hopes wrapped up in tidy boxes that we can explain, but is this really living? Isn’t that inner child tugging inside daring us to shoot for the stars? Christmas is an invitation to believe again in things beyond what we can see or explain. It is an invitation to wonder.
Wonder keeps drawing us into discovery. Science has gained perpetual momentum unveiling the unseen world. Something deep inside seems to pull on each of us to reach beyond our own limitation to prove things that transcend the boundaries of this physical world. Hope set on temporary things never fully satisfies the longing of the human spirit. Joy is miraculous; it is otherworldly; it is not found in the things of this world. We were created for more; eternity is set in our hearts, therefore something within us is always crying out for more.
Christmas is built around miracles that bring great joy. Whether you celebrate the birth of Jesus or you celebrate the fun of Santa Clause, it is about dreams coming true and hopes fulfilled. There is a conflict within us, a tension between our heart and our logical mind. Pride; fear of looking like a fool, has robbed us of a whole lot of joy. There is something beautiful in the heart of a child to believe in wonderful things that are not seen with human eyes. The battle over Christmas wonder is a battle over joy and the miraculous.
Very few things have the power to suck the joy right out of a person like sickness? Now, why would I want to talk about suffering in a blog about Christmas? Well, the Grinch is not the only one trying to squelch the Christmas Spirit. Suffering and pain whether physical or emotional is a huge culprit that has put a damper on faith. If you ever bought the story that God allows sickness in your body or your loved ones to bring about something good, that is a recipe to steal hope in miracles. I am well acquainted with the pain of contending for a child in adverse pain and suffering. In the early stages of believing for my granddaughter’s healing I had to guard who I surrounded myself with. Because her situation was so desperate I needed people who would believe with me for the “impossible”. I had a few who believed in a God who allows sickness to teach lessons around me and I had to create a protective barrier. I was not going to believe for one minute that it was God’s will for my newborn granddaughter to endure this kind of suffering. To believe that God causes sickness to make you stronger, more apathetic or to somehow use you as a witness of long suffering to the hospital staff is a lying joy thief!!! What child or person would anticipate joyfully a relationship with someone who causes sickness as an ingredient to produce “good”? Likely this theology came out of well meaning humans trying to understand suffering or why prayers were not answered, but it is not truth. I think we’ve created a better picture of Old Saint Nick than we have of God.
Jesus is the gift of Christmas. He was sent to settle once and for all the character of God the Father. He came to reveal the heart Father. During His life on earth He also revealed to us that there is a real enemy that is at war with us. The book of Acts says, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.” This is a definition of good- healing the sick and destroying the works of the devil. People don’t prefer to mention a devil, especially at Christmas? Call him the Grinch spirit if you will! Every good story has a villain and we all want good to overcome evil. It seems many have become more comfortable believing that all the evil in the world is because of bad people? Natural disasters we refer to as “acts of God”giving the connotation that God is not only angry, but even, what we would otherwise classify as evil. Many try to blame man for these things too, maybe because we don’t want to believe in the unseen world. God is not trying to steal our joy. He sent Jesus that we might have joy and have it to the full!
I am not saying that we can escape all suffering. Suffering is not all bad. The quote, “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”, has some validity. The scriptures tell us that, “God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.” This does not say that He causes evil, it does say He causes good. ‘Our momentary light afflictions are producing an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” God makes a way where there seems to be no way. He is the most generous giver of all, just waiting for us to ask and believe. James, the brother of Jesus, tells us that every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He is not good and happy one day and mad the next. God is Good. God is Love. He sent Jesus to save us and to empower us from on high! He uses you and I as partners of His miracle working power; if only we will believe.
My granddaughter still believes in Santa Clause and she still believes in miracles! She is now eight years old, she knows that she is going to be healed, she has no doubt. Never once has she thought to blame God or succumbed to a victim attitude. I am challenged by her, she has been the fire that has caused me to seek more, believe more and contend fervently for her miracle as well as others. We now are seeing the evidence that she is being profoundly healed. Her healing is coming in stages and through a varied partnership. Miracles are always in partnership. Nurses and doctors at Children’s Hospital of course and a vigilant mother who is a prayer warrior and believes wholeheartedly in natural medicine have been part of the mix. Some miracles take time. Suddenly now, there has been an alignment of supernatural connections, wisdom and mother instincts to try some herbs, supplements and alkaline water all of which we know have made a huge difference. Above all these things, we have never stopped believing and contending for the miracle for which God alone will get the glory, she has come into the healing rooms multiple times. Unless you have faith as a little child you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. Is this referring to more than a heaven far off? Is it that there is something we must continue to contend for that we have not fully grasped for this earth? Within the gift of Christ is hidden the treasures of heaven; the mysteries. These mysteries are for us to discover. There is so much more!
“The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible.” Arthur C. Clarke
We need a paradigm shift. We are warriors destined to press through the boundaries of this age to grab hold of the ageless mysteries. When we receive Jesus Christ we receive access to the “otherworld” where wonder working power abounds. Heaven’s good tidings of great joy wait eagerly for us to dream again and believe for the impossible. If we don’t try, we will never know. Let’s stir ourselves to, like a child, believe in miracles and celebrate the wonder of Christmas!
The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid! For behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today in the City of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord! Luke 2:10&11
These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15:11