Black Friday, Cyber Monday, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Frosty the Snowman, and Santa Parades – no doubt about it, we are in the thick of the “holiday season.” The commercials and holiday specials on TV attempt to dictate what life should be like this time of year; families smiling and laughing, hugging and celebrating. Does your life look and feel anything like those overly produced moments you see? Or does stress and anxiety steal away the laughter and delight of your holiday experience? Does the chaos of this life and the whirlwind of increasingly busy schedules make you long for something more rather than feel fulfilled?
Stress and anxiety, pain and even hardship, whether at this time of year or anytime, is no surprise. We live in the End Times; the last days before the end of the world comes.
So what? What difference does that make?
We shouldn’t be surprise when life isn’t the Hollywood ideal. God tells us why. There is sin in this world, that is, rebellion against the God who rules it. Because of that rebellion, God says that this life is going to be troublesome. He even warns that wickedness will increase until the end.
However, you can live in the End Times like the child who watches the calendar for Christmas. You can live with his eager excitement, because you too can wait for a gift. You will not wait for toys and games wrapped in shiny paper – this is much, much better. As an early Christian, named Paul, wrote in the Bible: “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).
The same God who recognizes the rebellion of all people, promised a Savior to rescue you from the consequences of that rebellion. He followed through on that promise when he sent Jesus to pay the price for everyone’s sinful rebellion by dying on the cross. That Savior, Jesus, was born at the very first Christmas. God’s forgiveness is yours. In Jesus you are God’s dear child. As his child you can be eager for all his gifts, especially his gift of rescue out of this world of hardship and into an eternal life where only good exists.
Jesus’ humble birth, his live lived rightly and justly, his innocent death, and his powerful resurrection assure you of one thing: his love. You do live in the End Times, and those times may sometimes be dark, but God’s love always shines brightly. Because of Jesus and the gift of salvation he won for us, when he comes God will take you to be with him forever in heaven. These End Times will give way to an eternity of true joy!