What’s so wonderful? (religion)

Published 1:27 pm Wednesday, December 23, 2015

By Jason Green

I was listening to the radio the other morning, and Andy Williams came on crooning, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”

What a great song. The tune alone can lift your spirit. It reminds me of all those things that make this season so special: family, friends and fellowship.

As a Christian, this season involves celebrating the birth of the one who makes all that possible: Jesus Christ.



But shortly after the song finished, I started receiving phone calls from my church family that quickly brought me back to the reality of the season—a broken family, the death of a loved one, the loss of a job…all within a matter of minutes. As a pastor, I have these types of calls more often than I’d like.

That day, alone in the truck, I really started thinking about the struggle facing all of those involved in those calls. Given the holidays were upon us all, how could it be such a great time for those who are hurting?

Many times, the Christmas season isn’t so wonderful. It can be a dark reminder of loss, hopeless situations or depression. Maybe it’s just a painful reminder that we don’t have the financial resources necessary to make Christmas merry for the ones we love.

Consequently, a dark shadow sits over what should be a joyous time of the year.

But let me remind you of what happened one night in Bethlehem.

Out on a hillside, surrounded by darkness, a group of regular guys were doing their regular job and likely talking about the regular struggles they faced. Someone was hurting, someone was angry, someone was fearful, someone was depressed, someone had lost a sheep.

In essence, that hillside was filled with people just like me and you—regular folks with regular lives filled with ups and downs, delights and defects. They understood the struggle just like we do.

In the midst of their struggle, a message rang out loud and clear. God spoke through time and space and simply said this: “I have not left you alone. Because of my everlasting love for you, I am fulfilling my promise. Because you cannot come near to me, I CHOOSE to come near to you. Look to my son. When you follow my son, you follow me. And when you follow me, I declare peace with you. I offer you strength, courage, compassion, and hope. Just believe…”

And therein lies the simple invitation of Christmas. It’s an invitation to life. It’s an invitation to the comfort we can know through Christ.

The baby the angels celebrated would become the perfect man, give the blind sight, give the sick health, give the disabled mobility, and bring life from death.

In death, Christ snatched us from destruction. In his resurrection, he gave us victory over our present condition.

On the hillside that night in Bethlehem, God shattered darkness forever. He has provided us with an everlasting light to guide us through our currently darkened predicament.

The reality of Jesus doesn’t automatically make all our struggles dissolve, but a relationship with Jesus will make them bearable and offers the hope of a time when his children will be free from those very earthly instances.

God’s great love for us means Christ is there to lead us through the darkness if we’ll trust and follow the light. That is a very good reason to celebrate!

Merry Christmas and God bless you.

Jason Green is pastor of Mineral Springs Baptist Church. Look for another installment of his column in a future edition of The Clanton Advertiser.