“Are you keeping that forever?” Chase sidled up next to me in the kitchen. We glanced at the yellow star craft I made with my 2nd-5th grade Sunday school class last December.
“Maybe.” I stirred the meatballs. “Can you believe it’s been almost 365 days since I put that on the fridge?”
Chase shrugs and scurries away, still in the throes of his first decade, not yet in awe of the brevity of life adults feel more heavily each year.
I continue preparing dinner but glance back at the star, again and again. How often had I noticed and read the words during the year it had graced the side of our fridge?
There’s a small splat of pasta sauce on it and the edges are beginning to curl. The words of Matthew 2:10 tuck neatly into the folds of my heart. “When they saw the star they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.”
How I’ve needed that star, needed that reminder of GREAT JOY. Foundational joy, because at the end of the day–and at the end of this year–through difficulties, death, and disappointments, we have Jesus.
We have a risen Savior who was a babe in a manger.
One of my favorite worship songs is called Forever, by the talented Kari Jobe. Maybe you’ve heard it, or your church has sung it?
The morning sun was dead
The Savior of the world was fallen
His blood poured out for us
The weight of every curse upon him
As Heaven looked away
The Son of God was laid in darkness
A battle in the grave
The war on death was waged
The power of hell forever broken
The stone was rolled away
His perfect love could not be overcome
Now death where is your sting
Our resurrected King has rendered you defeated
Forever, He is lifted high
Forever, He is risen
He is alive
He is alive
There’s a verse nestled in that song, a verse that’s awful and wonderful and achingly beautiful. “One final breath He gave/as Heaven looked away.”
And it always reminds me of Christmas. Weird? Maybe. But it does. Because Jesus didn’t come to earth to hug people. He didn’t come here to make us feel better or to teach fishermen how to catch the most fish (though He did help with that… 🙂 ).
Jesus came to earth because He had to. Separated from His Father–oh, that’s what gets me every time.
Heaven looking away from the Prince of Peace because he wore our filth in order to save us. He was the perfect sacrifice on our behalf, to make God’s creation right with Him again. It’s ugly and bloody and uncomfortable.
It’s the GOSPEL.
He’s the lamb.
And He was tiny once, helpless, born in a stable and laid in a manger. And I’m so incredibly grateful as I gaze at that crinkled yellow star on my fridge. The weight of the year lifts, the worries of the moment evaporate, and the joy of the Lord once again becomes my strength when I have none.
Is He your joy, too? Is the knowledge that He died on the cross for you strengthening your heart this wonderful, difficult season?
I pray that it is. I pray that you’ll take that knowledge–that God sent His only BELOVED Son–to rest among dirty straw and sinners alike, and you’ll praise Him and cling to that in your dark moments.
Keep that star close–keep that truth close.
I pray you and yours have a Jesus-filled season of wonder, peace, and most of all–JOY.
“For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)