Being from central Canada, Christmas to me is closely connected to things that actually have nothing to do with that first Christmas in Bethlehem – things like snow, carols, snow, the early darkness of northern hemisphere winters, Christmas greenery, snow, sleigh rides, did I mention snow?? Besides the weather, my other favourite Christmas traditions involve family. From the smallest gathering of my immediate family to the largest gathering with dozens of extended family, I love them all.
For more Christmases than I can remember now, I’ve been away from Canada. This crazy YWAM life has led me to celebrate the holidays in Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and Australia. It’s been two years since my last Christmas in the snow with those nearest and dearest to me. This was to be one of the years we flew back, but the pandemic put a hold on those plans.
I was sitting in the glow of my Christmas tree the other night, considering the Nativity scene my kids had set up under it. I was reminded that while I’ve had to give up my plans this Christmas, Jesus gave up everything so that I could have Christmas. He was willing to step into our world, out of the pristine beauty of heaven into the squalid brokenness of earth. Why? Because He loves us.
Knowing Jesus loves me doesn’t make the disappointment of my own wrecked plans go away. But it does make that disappointment a little bit easier to bear. We’ve all had disappointments this year. Maybe the pandemic caused you to lose a job, a study opportunity, travel plans, or just the ability to leave your house whenever you want. Maybe you’ve even lost a loved one. For many of us, Christmas looks vastly different this year than we imagined or hoped it would.
But the Love hasn’t changed. Even when everything else has changed around us. Even when nothing works out the way we want. Even when life is heart-breakingly difficult. We can cling to the love of Jesus for hope, peace, strength, comfort, and even joy. And that’s not a cliché. It’s the Truth.
May you experience the Truth of Jesus’ constant Love for you this Christmas.
Lori is originally from Canada and has been with YWAM for over 15 years along with her husband, Jeremy, and sons, Monty and Reuben. Lori is one of the teachers on our Discipleship Training School. She is passionate about helping others know and understand the Bible in a way that allows them to apply it to their lives. A fun fact about Lori is that she lived on a YWAM Medical Ship for 2 years!