For many, the holidays and Christmas in particular, can be very difficult. For some reason it seems more tragedies happen during the holidays than any other time of the year. It's like the devil does his best to muck up our celebration of Jesus's birth! Even in my own little church there are multiple people undergoing surgeries, others who are struggling financially, and even more who have lost a loved one recently. Maybe you can relate. Maybe you lost a family member around the holidays in the past and this time of year renews the sorrow of that loss. Or maybe Christmas just reminds you of how little money you have to buy gifts and increases your worry about making ends meet. Or maybe you're sick and won't really enjoy all the celebrations.
Where am I going with this? Probably somewhere you wouldn't expect. I'm sitting down with Jesus in heaven.
God ... raised us up together with Jesus and made us sit down (giving us joint seating with Him) in the heavenly sphere in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:6
I read that verse the other day and I thought to myself, I sure don't feel like I'm seated next to Jesus in heaven. How about you? Clearly we are still physically here on earth, but since the Bible doesn't lie, it must mean that our spirits have been raised to sit with Jesus. We are no longer of this world. We are confined here physically until we die or Jesus comes, but the real part of us, our souls, our personalities, our spirits are not confined to this world. We can enjoy one-on-one fellowship with God. We, through the power of Jesus and His name have overcome this present world. You see, it doesn't really matter what happens to us here on earth as long as we belong to God. Too many Christians are too focused on their 80 or so years here on earth.. they are too focused on their life here, almost acting as if this were all there was. The very next verse in Ephesians helps us get a better perspective of what being seated in heaven means.
God... did this that He might clearly demonstrate through the ages to come the immeasurable riches of His free grace, His kindness and goodness of heart toward us in Christ Jesus, Ehpesians 2:7
The ages to come. We are in an age right now. It started with Adam and Eve and will end when Jesus returns. But there are mulitple ages to come, billions and billions of years ahead of our 80 or so here in which God promises to demonstrate the immeasurable riches of His free grace to us. Can you imagine? I don't believe we have the ability to come close to even imagining the wondrous worlds we will be a part of, the incredible activities, creations, tasks, exciting missions and celebrations!
If you keep your eye on that. If you remember that this life is SO SO SHORT compared to what's ahead of us, perhaps the struggles we endure here, (though difficult) will seem a little less daunting, a little less tragic, and a little more like a series of hurdles we can overcome with God's help until we make it to the glorious finish line.
For this world in its present form is passing away. 1 Corinthians 7:21
And all this was made possible because Jesus relinquished all His rights, His privileges, His position and came here to be born in a stable, live a pauper's life, and die a criminal's death for us.
May these truths inhabit your mind during this season and bring you great joy!