Glad Tidings and Great Trials: A Christmas Message

December 24, 2021 | Marie Versteeg

Glad Tidings and Great Trials: A Christmas Message

People complain that the Christmas season starts earlier and earlier every year, with good reason. But even so, there’s something beautiful in the communal sense of anticipation we share as we prepare ourselves for the big celebration of Christmas.

This year, that communal sense of anticipation has felt doubly precious. The strains of pandemic restrictions, geopolitical unrest, and opposing political opinions weigh heavily on all of us. As supply chain issues promise to be a problem long into the winter, many of us have failed to cross every item off our shopping list.

Given the circumstances, this seems like a good year to slow down and think about what we actually need in order to celebrate Christmas.

As Jesus said to Martha, preoccupied with her hosting duties and too busy to listen, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about” (Luke 10:41-42, NLT). 

That day long ago in Bethlehem, as Mary and Joseph desperately searched for shelter, they were also focused on the only thing worth being concerned about – the Child soon to be born. On that bleak first Christmas, there were no presents, no carols, no fancy dinners, no friends, no family. Nothing to be bought or sold. Only meager shelter for the night and rowdy shepherds interrupting their solitude.

We sometimes overlook such details. Christmas is the first chapter in the best story ever told. Today, we continue to celebrate the hope, joy and promise of the birth of the Saviour. We can’t forget the blazing sky of angels or the joyful tidings they brought: “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased” (Luke 2:14, NLT).

But we also shouldn’t forget the difficult travel, the smelly stable, the exhausted parents. Christ came for all humanity in every condition.

As author G.K. Chesterton wrote, “Any one thinking of the Holy Child as born in December would mean by it exactly what we mean by it; that Christ is not merely a summer sun of the prosperous but a winter fire for the unfortunate.”

May you feel the peace and comfort of our loving God this Christmas season.

Marie Versteeg is Communications Manager for the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario. The CFFO Commentary represents the opinions of the writer and does not necessarily represent CFFO policy. The CFFO Commentary is heard weekly on CFCO Chatham, CKXS Chatham, CKNX Wingham, and CHLP Listowel.