Christmas marks our life events whether we want to remember them or not.
The first Christmas without a family member. The first Christmas as a divorcee. The first Christmas before life so quickly changed with the complication of health, finances, or other unexpected struggles.
Or perhaps it’s the fifth, tenth, or twentieth year and Christmas tells you time does’t heal all wounds. The holiday just helps you remember the scars.
Christmas reminds us that life changes. The gift of Christmas is the fact that God’s character doesn’t change.
My Life Lesson
I learned this principle when I had a nine month old and an almost three year old. My six year old and nine year old had just come home from the first day of school when we got a phone call that took us to the hospital.
My 67 year old mother-in-law was taken to the hospital because she had a hard time breathing. She had outpatient arthroscopic surgery the day before. We arrived at the hospital and were waiting in the chapel near the emergency room, and the chaplain came in and told our family Mom had expired.
In that moment, our world came crashing down. I literally heard glass shattering in my head. Everything I thought I knew about life and God changed in that moment.
As I scrambled to bring myself back to reality, I focused on what I knew about God from life “before.” One thing I knew was that God didn’t change even though our circumstances changed. I went through a mental list of God’s character traits I had been keeping for years.
I knew from Scripture that God was gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love (Exodus 34:6). I knew he was the same in that moment as he was the day before. I knew he was still good though life said he wasn’t.
Have you had moments like that? Moments when life tells you God can’t be good. He can’t be faithful, he can’t be loving or kind?
Lessons from the classroom of life
Experiences have taught me life always changes. It’s not constant and there are no guarantees for the life we want. People change and bring change to our life whether we want it or not.
One thing I’ve learned is that God’s character is the constant you can depend on.
Everything about God is consistent and unchanging. He’s not evolving, though progressive theologians would argue he is. Scripture says something different.
“I, the Lord, do not change. “Malachi 3:6
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”Hebrews 13:8
And my favorite: “All good gifts come down from the father of the heavenly lights, who doesn’t change life shifting shadows.”James 1:17
In today’s world where people, culture, morals, politics, Bible translations, even gender, change like shifting shadows, I’m thankful that God doesn’t change, which means His character doesn’t change.
This truth has been in the anchor in my life, though I don’t understand why God allows certain things. I don’t understand the complexities of life. One thing I do understand is that God asks I trust him, which means I trust in his character though I don’t understand.
What this Christmas Marks for You
This Christmas season, you may experience the greatest Christmas you’ve had. You may be in a period of peace with your family. Celebrate!
Soak in the goodness, joy, and contentment. Mark this year. Praise God for his goodness to you. This is where my family is and I am enjoying God’s grace this year.
But you may be experiencing the hardest Christmas you’ve had or have had in a long time. If you are, cling to the qualities of God you need to see. His faithfulness. His mercy. His sovereignty that he is control and working in your circumstances you can’t see yet. Go back to God’s character qualities you celebrated when life was good. God hasn’t changed. He’s still that person in your life, even when things don’t feel good.
Change is Guaranteed
Friends, 2019 will bring change. World changes, national changes, personal changes. That’s guaranteed. It’s also frightening some days. But 2019 is also in sovereign command of the Creator of the universe who doesn’t change life shifting shadows.
If you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, His promises in the Bible are true for you. If you die, you will be with Him in heaven. If you’re facing adversity, you have access to a peace that passes all understanding.
2019 is also in sovereign command of the Creator of the universe who doesn’t change life shifting shadows.Brenda Yoder
Whatever you are facing this holiday, you have the hope of God’s unchanging character. It’s the one constant you can completely trust.
What character qualities of God are His gift to you this year? Write them down. Share them with us. I’d love to hear from you.
Merry Christmas, friends, from my family to yours. My prayer is all of you will know the greatest gift this season, the gift of salvation, eternal life, and forgiveness of your sins through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, God incarnate, Emmanuel.