Doug Creamer column: Merry Christmas 2020
By Doug Creamer
I read Lynna Clark’s fictional retelling of the birth of Christ in “An EncouragingU Christmas.” She did a good job making Mary and Joseph come to life. I enjoyed the story so much that I plan to read it again next year. When I finished, I sat quietly and allowed my spirit to drink in her story.
That’s when I had a very unique thought that has never occurred to me before. I have always thought that Joseph must have struggled with doubt about the conception of Jesus. No one prior to Jesus had ever been conceived without two people coming together. Why wouldn’t Joseph struggle with doubt about Mary’s story?
Two things struck me. Mary was pure and virtuous and not prone to telling wild stories. She was honest and innocent. Joseph could and did trust her. Second, Joseph had a dream where he saw an angel. I’ve had powerful dreams that I knew were from heaven and no one or nothing can shake those dreams from me. Joseph had a dream that he knew was from heaven and he trusted God — completely. Faith and trust in God leaves no room for doubt.
Joseph and Mary had a deep faith in God and they needed it to endure all that life threw at them. We know they lived about two years in Bethlehem. We don’t really know how long they lived in Egypt, but it is most likely more than a year. During this time, other children must have come along and Mary and Joseph continued to trust in God.
Walking with God requires faith and trust. Over my lifetime, I can look back and see times when God called me to move to a new school. I had hoped that I would start at one school and stay there for my whole career. But that wasn’t the path on which the Lord led me. Each career move we made challenged our faith and required us to trust God. God has always been faithful.
Following Jesus requires faith, especially when the path isn’t clear. But God sends some gifts along the way to help us. Jesus is the prince of peace. Before he ascended back to heaven, he told the disciples that he was giving them his peace. His peace is perfect and helps to quiet our spirits when the world seems out of control. His supernatural peace goes beyond all understanding. His presence inside of us gives us his glorious peace that we all need.
Another gift God gave was his love. God’s love came in a package lying in a manger. God sent his son in the most approachable way possible. God wants all mankind to know the depth of his love for us. Jesus makes a way for each person to connect with God in a personal and intimate way. God’s love is perfect and unconditional. His love guides us. His love comforts us. His love assures us of a place with him in eternity.
Another gift from God is hope. When Jesus arrived on the scene, the Jews were being oppressed by the Roman Empire. He birthed in his people hope that God heard their prayers. The answer came in an unexpected way, even though the scriptures foretold the coming of Christ. Hope often comes in unexpected ways. Hope gives us the courage to press on. Hope allows us to believe in a God of the impossible. Hope has the seed of expectancy, that we know God will deliver us.
Jesus’ arrival in that little manger more than 2,000 years ago signaled a change. We all know life is full of challenges; we only have to look at 2020. Seeds of doubt can sprout in our minds. But hope lifts us from those doubts into our loving heavenly father’s arms. When we look into the eyes of Jesus, we experience God’s unconditional love, that assures us that he knows where we are and what we are enduring. When we open our hearts to his great love, his peace floods our souls and reminds us that we are called to be overcomers. And with his help, we will.
I want to encourage you to open your hearts, minds, and spirit to God’s great love this Christmas. Allow the child of Bethlehem to be born in your heart. Let the joy of his presence overtake your fears and doubts. God loves you and he is bigger than anything you face. Jesus came for you. Allow your spirit to be renewed and refreshed. I pray that love, joy, peace, and hope be yours. Merry Christmas!
Contact Doug Creamer at P.O. Box 777, Faith, NC 28041, or firstname.lastname@example.org