Ups and Downs at Christmas

It certainly makes sense.  Scripture says Jesus ascended into heaven when he went home to the Father.  He didn’t wade out into the sea or climb a mountain.  He ascended into the sky.  When we think of God’s residence, we always think of “up.”  Heaven is up there somewhere, maybe in this galaxy or in one of the countless others.  We don’t know.  We just know it is up above us.

Consequently, when we pray we “lift” our requests to God.  After all, he’s up there somewhere.  We tell him of our needs, our burdens, our issues, and our troubles.  Then, like a faithful servant, we put them on a silver platter and offer them to God as he is seated on his throne at the head of the table.  We lift them up to him.  But here’s what I have found.  My needs, my burdens, my issues, and my troubles are very heavy.  Trying to lift even one is burdensome.  Piled together, it is impossible.  There have been times when I have started to pray and I have become overwhelmed…so overwhelmed I couldn’t even finish my prayer.  My emotions took charge.

Once, in elementary school, we were playing Batman and all of us who were villains were being destroyed by the Caped Crusader.  As we were taken out we were piled up on the playground basketball court.  I was one of the first to go.  Eventually many others were laying on top of me.  I was being crushed.  I couldn’t breathe.  I was panicked. As an adult I have had that feeling again when lifting my prayers to God.  Crushed.  Struggling for breath.  Panicked.

Here then is the great news of Christmas.  God knew that we would find ourselves buried by the burdens of sin as well as the burdens of life in a fallen, dark, and messed up world.  He knew we would struggle mightily to lift those burdens to him.  So what did he do?  He came to us.  He came to say “I am here with you.  Don’t worry when the burdens are too heavy.  I am here, and will always be here, to take what weighs you down.”

What fascinates me is that he didn’t come as a superhero.  He wasn’t the champion in the Coliseum.  He didn’t seek to star in a Terminator movie.  Instead, he came as a baby.  For many reasons, he came as a baby.  However, could it be that God was showing us his awesome power by saying even as a newborn baby, I have the power to do all that I desire.  I have the power to defeat evil.  I have the power to destroy sin.  I have the power to lift what you cannot.

Thanks be to God for his coming.  I am standing taller just remembering the wonderful occasion.


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