Psalm 117 “Praise the LORD, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD!” (ESV)
The year 2020 has been one in which we can feel the collective weariness of our souls cry out to the Lord. The challenges and hard days have been pervasive on a global and personal scale like most of us have never known. The words “the weary world rejoices” from the hymn O, Holy Night resonate with us in fresh and raw ways.
During times like these, we may not see Christmas as merry, but we can cling to the steadfast love of the Lord, who came because of brokenness like what we have experienced this year. The story of Christmas exists because brokenness exists.
When sin entered the world, God immediately began to unfold His plan to redeem what sin had broken. The entire Old Testament points to and speaks of His active involvement in carrying out this plan, including His promises to send a forever King and Savior who would set His people free from the slavery of sin. However, at the time of Christ’s birth, God’s people had not heard directly from Him for 400 years.
The prophets were silenced. God was silent. The Israelites lived day in and day out for hundreds of years with only their hope in what they believed about the steadfast nature of God.
Then, when God’s time was right, He readied the world to send the promised Savior. He was faithful to all the promises He had made, down to the smallest detail. Because God loved the world He sent the Savior just as He promised. The unmoving love of God that the psalmist proclaimed in Psalm 117 was the same unwavering love poured out at Christmas.
In this year of weariness, we can cling to what Christmas tells us about God’s steadfastness:
- God came to restore the brokenness of all people. God promised that all nations of the earth would be blessed by the birth of the Savior. The worshipful posture of the Wise Men point to this truth that Christ came for all. Furthermore, His birth was announced to the shepherds — those who were ceremonially distanced from worship and needed redemption. The presence of the shepherds reveal Christ’s purpose in coming for the lowly, for those who are broken, outcast, and on the fringes. If you find being “merry and bright” this Christmas is a far-flung ideal, find comfort in knowing that Christ brought His glorious light into the darkness for you, not the other way around.
- God is faithful, and He endures forever. All of the promises of God are certain. The ones He made for the birth of Jesus were faithfully realized — all of them. Even more, the Savior sent at Christmas is the forever King now. God was faithful in the past; He is faithful in the present; and He will be faithful in the future. Although we do not know what that future looks like for each of us, we can know that whatever it is, He is faithful to love, redeem, and work all things for our good. Our certain future is one of hope in a steadfast Father, who is preparing an eternal home for us with Him. In that home, weariness and brokenness will be no more.
- The steadfast love of God evokes our worship. Mary, the angels, the shepherds, and (later) the Wise Men all reacted with worship because of the coming of Christ. We should note that Mary, the shepherds, the Wise Men, and even Joseph, lived stories that involved danger, fear, and the effects of a broken world. Their stories were not sweetly wrapped with a bow. Their worship did not come from a place of ease or comfort. Rather, God’s steadfast love in the middle of the weary world called their heart to worship Him.
This Christmas, we do not live as those without hope in difficult days; because we hope in a steadfast God, we worship as an offering to the One who holds our lives in His hands.
At Lifeline, we have seen the hand of God move in mighty ways this year, but we have also witnessed needs around the world and challenges for families arise. In all of it, the steadfast love of God has been our prevalent hope. As we look to a new year, we pray you join us in worshiping a God who is steadfast in all things.
Praise the Lord for He is Worthy. Merry Christmas…
This 2020 Christmas devotional was written by Lifeline’s President & Executive Director, Herbie Newell.