December 25, Sunday

REPOST Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, provided by Christine Li, was first posted on December 25, 2015.  Christine, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania, serves as a deaconess at Remnant Church in Manhattan, New York.  

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“Hagar and the Christmas Story”

Genesis 16:13 

“[Hagar] gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me.’ “ 

Every year, TV advertisements seem to be funnier and cleverer during the holiday season. However, this is also the season for my least favorite ad, the animal cruelty commercial with the forlorn animals. While I don’t disagree with its necessity, I find myself annoyed every time it comes on because my mood is ruined –the heaviness is not what I am looking for during my Christmas programming.

During Christmas, every greeting we have echoes an expectation of celebration: the holidays are happy; Christmas is supposed to be merry. However, our over-emphasis on celebration can leave the impression that it is inappropriate to have any grief, sadness, or longing. We might find ourselves at a loss to reconcile our inner struggles with the call to rejoice, though many of us have wounds and pains that simple “Christmas cheer” cannot heal.

Here, we can find great help from Hagar’s story. In her grief, she had run away, but in the desert, God met her. By speaking directly to her and giving her a promise of hope, God showed Hagar that He was with her – that He was, in her words, “the God who sees.” In that revelation, she was able to return to her mistress, not because God had changed her situation, but because she had met Him and knew that His eye was upon her.

At Christmas, we can remember that the same God is present with us.  We can take comfort in this secure and firm hope, that into a broken and dark world, the living Word of God, Jesus Himself, came to us. His eye is always upon us and He sees our every circumstance. He came to bring us near to Him, and He has promised to be with us until the end of the age. Surely, He will also give us His comfort and peace for all eternity.

Prayer: Father, thank You for sending Your son to rescue us from the darkness, and thank You for bringing us near to You. Thank You for the reminder in Christmas that You are with us always and that You triumph over all darkness in our lives. Help us to worship You in every season.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 9

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