To My Daughter on Christmas,
I realize Christmas may seem a little confusing right now: This week you saw a glowing tree magically appear in our living room. (Then you were yelled at for touching it.) We went to the mall story-time and you got paper antlers and jingle bells to wear. Christmas music blared and as we strolled away, you saw a very long line of kids waiting to sit on an old man’s lap. Later that night, I dressed you in your new red and pink reindeer pajamas–but you kept calling them, “puppies.”
I know you are not yet two, but even at twenty-seven, this holiday can still make your head swirl. But someday, I hope you can see what Christmas is really about, and that is this: Christmas is for desperate people.
Last night, as you pulled all the ornaments within your reach off our Christmas tree, you kept pointing to one in particular you called, “baby.” We haven’t talked about this “baby” yet. But He is the reason we have Christmas at all.
See, a long time ago, the world was full of desperate people. And it was dark, and sad, and in need of a Rescuer. Remember how I told you I used to cry because I had to wait a very long time for you to be born? The earth was waiting for a baby too. But this was no ordinary baby. He was the Rescuer. He would rescue people from death, and despair, and darkness. Because the people loved darkness, they kept running further and further away from God. They didn’t know His love yet. What they needed to see, was a God who would run towards them. A God who would come close. At any cost.
God had been silent a very long time. But two thousand years ago, in a barn, in the starlight, in the straw, His teenage momma pushed out His warm, slippery, little body. And the moment this “baby” let out His first cry–the silence was broken forever. Between God and men.
And as His mom held Him on her chest and felt His skin against hers, she breathed out His name, “Jesus.” “Immanuel.” It means, “God is with us.”
And He was.
God had come. Skin to skin. Breath to breath. And soon, blood for blood. For the desperate. For the sinners. And that’s what that “baby” means. That was the beginning. Of God coming close to us. Of us being brought close to Him. Forever.
Sadly, some people don’t really know why we have Christmas. They try very hard to be happy and make it mean something, but they don’t know that the only reason to be happy is that the Rescuer made a way for us to be saved from going to a very bad place, and that we can be close to God now. Forever.
I’m telling you this because you are going to see big presents and flashing lights, and hear Christmas carols, and there will be cookies, and ugly sweaters, and people rushing around buying gifts. There will be little Santa’s and big inflatable ones, and reindeer, and movies, and ads for toys, and itchy dresses, and family photos. And I give you full permission to enjoy those things. But those are extra. They are not the main thing. Christmas is about Jesus.
And He came to save people enslaved to sin. To free people from addiction. He came to cleanse sinners in His blood and clothe the naked in His righteousness. He came to take shame away. He came to feed the hungry with good things, to make rich the poor, to set captives free. He came to give Living Water to the thirsty, so they may not thirst any more. He came for brokeness and unhealable pain. He came for the lowly. And for those who thought they were really holy. He came for people who would break their marriage vows. And for all the people who would be wounded by it. He came for girls that would take off their clothes for attention, and men who would take off their rings for satisfaction. He came for people with cancer, who would be healed in the life to come. He came for abused people, and sexually confused people. He came for depressed and anxious people, and those paralyzed constantly by fear. And shame.
And He came for people like me. Because, though you don’t know yet, you will know soon that: I am desperate. And I say this with tears: I desperately need Jesus. I need Him. He is life to me.
Me and your dad: we are desperate people. We are weak and sinful. We get angry. We do bad things, we think bad things. But in Jesus, we find an invitation to come. Not because of who we are, or what we’ve done, but because of who He is, and what He’s done. Are you desperate? I pray one day you will be.
Because of this you can be sure—He is coming back again. Not as a Baby this time, but as King. And He’s coming for the desperate. And only for the desperate. “For all those who have longed for His appearing.” (2 Tim. 4:8) And when He comes back He won’t appear as weak and lowly, but exalted and glorious. King of the earth. He will ride in on a great white horse, wearing many diadems, and He will be called: Faithful and True. On his robe and on his thigh will be written: King of kings and Lord of lords. And all the armies of heaven will ride in behind Him. And all nations and people will fall down before Him. And when He lifts His voice, the only ones who will rise will be, the desperate. Desperate for Jesus. And they shall enter the Wedding Supper of the Lamb and be satisfied forever. And nothing shall separate them from His love.
For God himself will be with them.
So if you want to celebrate Christmas, my dear, we shall. We will celebrate the only way we truly can: as desperate people. As those who long for His appearing.
Weisenberger News says
Your post really touched me and has touched on things that I have been thinking about or worried about. Thanks for your amazing insight.
I’m so glad you were encouraged through it. May you feel more desperate for Jesus this Christmas–I know I do! 🙂
I have no idea how I found this blog. I can’t remember at all. But I want you to know that I will be eternally grateful for what you say. I cry every single time you post. And it’s not you. No offense. But instead it’s God using your words to touch a place in my soul that no one really understands. So thank you for what you say. Thank you for your thoughts on barrenness and understanding how horribly hard it is. Thank you for sharing. And thank you, thank you for reminding me of my desperation of the Father.
I am deeply touched by your comment. Thank you for telling me this. More than anything, I’m so happy that Spirit of God is speaking to your heart and soul. I don’t often know why I write other than, there is this burning message in my heart that I have to work out into words. And I am glad that it’s not me speaking to you, but God. He’s the one that can go into those intimate places. And that’s exactly what I hope for when I share things on this blog. If you forget about me, but in your own heart are more filled with affection for Jesus, and love those who are in your life–it is well worth it to me. May He continue to speak to you in those intimate places, in the way only He can. I truly appreciate you sharing with me, and am honored to have you as a reader. Much love,
Very nicely written. Never to soon to talk to our babies about THE baby!
Thank you. I love how you said that, talking to your baby about THE baby. 🙂 Now that I have a child, it’s really given me a more intentional perspective because soon I will be re-telling these stories to her. And it’s made me think hard about –what do I want to tell her? What do I want to get across? But it’s been helping me in my own understanding as I think through these things. 🙂
Anna Bachinsky says
What a beautiful and much-needed post during this season! Without Jesus Christmas is just another fun holiday to celebrate, but with Him we get to celebrate the greatest gift of all: the gift of a savior to a world of people desperately in need of one. In Him we will find the hope, the freedom, and the joy we all search for. Thank you for this post. Be blessed!
Thank you so much. You are right, is this just going to be another holiday? It’s easy to just let it be that. But really thinking hard about what Christmas is, and who Christ is–and what that means for us, and for me–has given me a new kind of excitement and lens to see this holiday through. I never knew there could be so much joy in being completely and utterly desperate. Desperate for Jesus. 🙂
May He meet you in your desperation this Christmas!
Absolutely Beautiful! Thank you again for allowing God to speak to all of us through your words.
Whoa. Amazing. This resonates deep in my spirit. How well I can recall that desperation when it first hit my heart like a ton of bricks, how much I long for the years of jadedness that have come between to fall away that I may experience it once more. I strive for my children to see what is most precious about this season, year after year, but do I really, really let its full wonder impact me like it once did? Something that ought to top my busy list. Get thirsty again. Thank you for allowing God to use your gifts so thoroughly.
Thank you for your thought-provoking and touching reflection on the real meaning of Christmas. I hope you don’t mind, but I liked it so much I linked to it in the comments of one of my recent posts http://rhisbeloved.wordpress.com/2014/12/13/elf-on-the-shelf/
I hope I am not being obnoxious or presumptuous. It’s the last thing I want to be. But, something in this post stirred my heart deep enough I had to write my thoughts. Again, I am but a pale shadow, but I thought I’d share. http://mrsmariposa2014.wordpress.com/2014/12/14/break-me/
Just wanted to say I feel honored to have you share this link on your blog. And, also, what a beautiful message you have written to your son, regarding our culture’s version of Christmas. What loving words, and intentional mothering. Your kids are truly blessed to call you mom. It brought tears to my eyes. I loved how you said, “It’s not because I don’t love you, but because I love you so much..” I really love your message here. 🙂
Betsy Tiger says
Rebecca, I absolutely love your honestly! Your words are always so refreshing and so convicting! You have such a gift. Thank you for sharing!!
Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know it encouraged you! I feel blessed to hear your encouraging feedback. May you have a wonderfully desperate Christmas as you long for Jesus. 🙂