On the Sunnyside

Was It An Empty Christmas?

 

Empty is not a word normally associated with Christmas. We don’t want to even think of emptiness. We want piles of gifts under the tree, a house full of family and friends, full stockings and full stomachs. We want to be full of joy and good cheer. Tragically, some did have to cope with empty stomachs, empty places at the table, empty wallets and empty hearts. However, there are also some very significant, positive empty things connected with this season.

 Christ emptied Himself

The account in Phil. 2:7 tells us that when Jesus came to earth “He made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant”. This is very difficult to understand. How could the God of the universe take the form of a man and do that? It is even more stupendous than having a king, president or prime minister take the place of a slave laborer voluntarily. We want to be a somebody, not a nobody. But He did that for us.

 The manger is empty

We love the picture of an innocent Baby in the manger. It is an awesome scene but we can’t keep Him there. Our natural inclination would be to have Him stay there. After all, it is much cuter and more comfortable to deal with Baby Jesus than the thundering Prophet or the probing Teacher who pierces our thoughts, challenges our hypocrisy and cuts across the cords of our culture. But the manger is empty. God’s visit to earth was not going to be just a cute social event in which we could “ooh” and “aah” over a baby and then go on our way undisturbed. He came to intervene and even interfere. He came to comfort and console but also to confront and convict. We are sorely mistaken if our only mental image of God is that of a doting Grandfather or of the Son of God as a cute Baby. The manger is empty now.

 The cross is empty

The cross has a lot to do with Christmas. You see, He came to die not just to visit. They couldn’t leave Him in the manger where He wouldn’t challenge us, so they decided to nail Him to the cross where He couldn’t interfere, they thought. But He rose again when all seemed to be black with hopeless defeat. He continues to reach out to mankind with even greater hope. He came to die so that we might have life. (John 10:10)

 Many hearts are empty

Although the days were scheduled full, the dinner tables were full and the space under the tree loaded with gifts, many hearts were still very empty. Somehow the conviction pierces through the busyness, the festivity and the materialism with the thought that this really isn’t fulfilling. There is something missing. There is a great emptiness in there somewhere. Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” May this be the year you discover that a personal relationship of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the only thing that can fill that emptiness.

Life is full on the sunny side

Henry Wiebe

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