Jesus' birthday brings hope to suffering

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By The Staff

Dear Editor,

Centuries ago God promised through the prophets that He would give His Son. “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14, KJV). The Messiah, who is the Son of the Living God, came into the world for one purpose only: to save souls through His atoning death on the cross,

On that frosty night in Bethlehem, while Joseph made a place in a manger to lay Jesus, Mary was finally able to rest. I imagine her smiling wearily but peacefully as she settled in for the night. She bad much to remember. The long journey up from Galilee, out of the City of Nazareth into Judea, riding upon a young donkey, finding the streets filled far beyond their capacity with bands of pilgrims. Watching Joseph being brushed off impatiently by others while he frantically searched for shelter. No room in the Inn.

Her heart sank.

“Don’t worry Mary,” Joseph comforted her. “We’ll find a place.”

And the birth of Christ humbly happened in a cold, smelly stable-not particularly for the Jews alone-but for all humankind.

The child in Mary’s arms was the Messiah-the promised Deliverer and Savior in whom all the promises of God are fulfilled.

Perhaps half the world was unaware of His coming back then, but today this birthday is one of the most celebrated occasions in modem Christendom.

“For unto us a child is bom, unto us a Son is given... and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

        Yet, to my knowledge, the only birthdays any of us ever celebrate are of those who are living. Is He alive? Yes! He lives! This is the enormous triumph, the good news! This is the true meaning of the season.

Hence-central to all the festivities-the exchange of gifts, cards, family visits, and good wishes-this Christmas, let each of us make the challenge to allow Jesus to play an

integral part in our celebration. Our loving and giving can symbolize reverence for the Son of God, who loved us and gave Himself for us.

For many of us, this year has been one of tough times and tears, heartache and sorrow, financial loss and emotional hardship.

Like Mary, many hearts are sinking. Like Joseph, many people are being shoved aside, shoved out of their homes, out of their jobs.

Our soldiers are at war. Homeless people are standing on comers with signs that say: I will work for food.” Widows are lonely, broken, and empty. Maybe the doctor said the cancer is back.

From time to time, all of us have moments of weakness when we may wonder, “Who is my friend?.

This Christmas, there is hope. God is interested in our personal hopes and our futures. Whatever may come your way, have faith in God and accept His wonderful gift-the Child in Mary’s Arms!

Merry Christmas

Amanda Shannon