(from the heart of Rae Botsford End)
We celebrate Christmas just days after the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, which means the days continue to get longer from this point. What we feel, though, is still coldness; what we perceive is still darkness. The incoming warmth is not felt for months. In fact, in many places, the coldest days are yet to come.
Jesus came as Emmanuel, as God with us, to Earth as a baby. He began His ministry about thirty years later. As with the warming sun in winter, the reality of His presence was here on Earth, but the effects of that reality were not immediately felt.
What was it like to know the Messiah had been born, and was simply living as a baby, a toddler, a child? What was it like for those who understood, like the shepherds and the wise men, to know that he had arrived and to still have to wait? What was it like to dwell in the midst of that winter?
Some folks like to remind us that Jesus probably wasn’t born during literal winter. Yet, it is appropriate to celebrate His birth at this time of year, when we can reflect on His light that is sometimes present long before we can feel it. The reality is that He is here. Dwelling in us, He is in the midst of the Church and in the places where we carry His presence. Not everyone will feel His presence immediately, but the effects of that light and warmth will manifest, so don’t give up before the spring.
“So take courage my heart, stay steadfast my soul. He’s in the waiting, He’s in the waiting. Hold onto your hope as your triumph unfolds. He’s never failing, He’s never failing.”
(from “Take Courage” by Kristene DiMarco/Bethel Music)