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A Blue and New Christmas
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Many of us whose memories are slipping are old enough to remember Elvis singing, “But I’ll have a blue, blue blue blue Christmas.” Stuttering aside, his point was that, instead of red and green and white, his sorrows would paint a predominantly blue Christmas. For many, the joyous sounds of others at Christmas time only echo sadly within the hollow memories of happier times.
Some churches now hold what they call a Blue Service, quietly geared to those who, for whatever reason, are not experiencing Coca Cola and Currier and Ives Christmases.
Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the “cuddly babe in the manger,” with great joy. Later in the year, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Christ, with great joy. Joy, joy, joy. We almost look down on anyone who claims to be a Christian and who isn’t walking around with a sparkly smile and a bounce in his steps. Just like Charlie Brown and the empty mailbox, it looks like Christ has nothing for them.
The truth is that Jesus has something for everyone. At this time of year, we often turn to Isaiah 7:14 or 9:6, the Old Testament Christmas verses. If you are having a Blue Christmas, I challenge you to read all of Isaiah 53. Let’s focus specifically on a few key passages.
Verses 2 and 3 predict how the Christ (Messiah) would be ignored and even despised by men. When I presented this message to men at the local rescue mission, they well understood the feeling. Verse 4 reminds us that Jesus carried our sorrows. He did not ignore them or minimize them or apply some palliative Pollyanna platitude, such as “keep a stiff upper lip.” He carried them as his own.
Most of the other verses remind us that Christ also bore the punishment for our sins on the cross. Because of this one act, we are forgiven and justified, and God is satisfied. Peek over into Chapter 54, and you experience the resultant joy and beauty of Israel and, by extension, the victorious Christian. Even the most impoverished and neglected believer can take comfort in knowing that Christ himself was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (53:3, NKJV). The result of his experiences gives us confidence in prayer: “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15, 16, NKJV).
If you have faith in the Christ of Christmas, you can transfer from a Blue Christmas to a New Christmas!
When you allow him into your life, acknowledging him as Lord and Savior, a marvelous thing happens: you become a new person: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Desires are new, goals are new, mindset is new, conscience is new, destiny is new. Most importantly, our standing with, and access to, God are new.
This new person now has the mind of Christ and the grace of the Lord to carry him or her through the sorrows of life. “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall” (Psalm 55.22, cf. 1 Peter 5:7). He will carry you through the blues.
As if that were not enough, our Lord has a more marvelous, incomprehensible gift for us: a new heavens and new earth. “But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13). This is a far greater present (and future!) than anyone can promise us. Here is what is under the wrapping:
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true’” (Revelation 21:1–5; see rest of chapter).
What are you missing this Christmas? A home? Good clothes? A loved one? A pet? A home-cooked meal? A car, boat, swimming pool, credit line? Jesus Christ? There is no emptiness so great that God can’t fill it. His gifts don’t come with a return address or toll-free recall number. Let Him make your Blue Christmas a New Christmas!
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