Brothers, Sisters, Family,
For many, the seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas are times of abundant love and fellowship. Many are showered with gifts, lavished with love, spending their days trying to hold back or even giving into the excesses of the season. Yet, for so many others they are seasons of loss, a season of loneliness, an experience of lack in love and in comfort. Where are you this year? Some of have had a hard year, a hard life. Some have been more thoroughly blessed than in any other time.
No matter where you are, if you will accept it, I’d like to offer you something. Christ has been through it all; praised, followed, scorned, abandoned. He experienced the loss of friends and family, the death of his earthly father Joseph, one of his closest friends to heinous betrayal. His own people treated him with contempt, his own brothers rejecting him, many others tearing down his word and work, still others crying out for his death. Yet, for all this many men stood by him in life and in resurrection. Many women stood by him, walking even closer, pursuing Him in the in-between, in the dark unknown before He rose. He knew the comfort of the home of friends, the hardship of having no place to rest His head and He knows where you are today, in life, heart, mind, and soul. Listen further.
For it all, His heavenly Father stood by Him, affirmed and exalted Him, strengthened Him, and loved Him. Though He felt the pain of the Cross and a felt separation that came with his bearing our sins (crying out “My God, My God, Why have You forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34, Psalm 22:1), the Father never turned his back on Him (despite songs that speak this way, read Psalm 22:24). In his perfection He took our sin, paid our penalty, that by repentance and faith in Him we may be set free.
Have you received Him? Jesus sees you, knows you, is still here for you. The Lord has not turned his back on you. Let us neither turn our back on Him or one another. In abundance or in absence, in blessings or in bareness let us turn to Christ by faith and then, in turn, to all others to offer the same grace and mercy, comforting and being comforted in word and deed.
In the Love of Christ,
Pastor Mark Kell