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As wonderful as life is, it is frequently a challenge and often filled with deep disappointments. As we celebrate the birth of Christ this month, even He, as the Scripture reminds us in Isaiah 53:3, was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” The fallenness of mankind and reality of human suffering and injustice can be overwhelming and demands the counter-balance of eternity’s perspective to keep sensitive souls encouraged and optimistic. Indeed, the depth of the word, “perspective,” is held in tension between the ambiguity of life on earth and the promise of eternity’s ability to sort it all out and reveal life’s “rightness” in the end.
Christmas then, like Easter and every other spiritual marker, is a testament to the inter-twining of our parallel universe where eternity runs right along life’s tragedies and injustices. The marvel of this is that all of us phase in and out of the child-like wonder of the moments that only the presence of God’s love manifests through those we love, and the reality that Christmas is a “season” and passes away until it returns the following year. It is the gift of God to see this cyclical reality and the curious beauty and security of knowing that life’s drama is running on the sure foundation of eternity being there all along.
Wow, so much complexity amidst the simple pleasures of gifts, the cool smells of Christmas, the delicious food, and most of all the treasured moments with loved ones. Sorry to interrupt all that, but the presence of eternity is the unseen reality that makes it “what it is.” And now, the real game-changer: Because Jesus Christ really was and is all that truly is Christmas and the drama we see, and the drama that perhaps we sense more than see—it really is a wonderful life, just like the movie says.
So what am I saying? A current culture expression says it best: It’s all good. It really is. But, only because eternity is really there. May this Christmas find you occasionally watching yourself in the midst of the magic of it all, only to fall back into the moment, fully present and full of joy. You can only do that because eternity is there, and Jesus entering into all this with us made His eternity enter our consciousness. There I go again! Sorry. O.K., just plain Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! And that is… THE BOTTOM LINE.