A friend lies in a hospital bed and freely admits on Facebook that he is afraid. Another is worried about a doctor's request for further tests. “I'm only twenty,” he says. “How can I possibly have cancer?” Someone else pens a song about facing a first Christmas and a coming new year without a beloved's face at the table and voice in their ears.
And God's response? Tidings of comfort and joy.
But is that what we want? Don't we want our problems to be fixed, our pain taken away, the tough days to come to an end? What He gives us is His Presence in the midst of our difficulties. He wants to be born right smack in the midst of our problems, to arrive in the middle of our darkest night, that we might find comfort and joy right where we are, in the middle of our smelly and primitive hopelessness.
Instead of checking items off our Christmas lists of wants, God gives us what we need... His Presence in our pain, His sharing in our suffering, His love to fill the void of loss, and Hope to hang on to in the days ahead. He gives us what we need to see us through.
“In this world you will have tribulation,” He told us. “But take heart. I have overcome the world.”
Tidings of comfort and joy.