CityLine Women — Volume 21
Come to the Manger
I’m writing this post just days after a dear friend lost her husband. The heartache is palpable and the fracture in this family runs deep. Any loss of this kind is difficult to reconcile, but to experience it during the holidays is an especially painful weight to bear.
Beneath the sadness that has blanketed the past several days, the thought that rings clearest and most true, the one I am profoundly thankful for is a simple one:
The gospel of Jesus remains.
Despite the heartbreak. Despite the pain. Because if He is good when all is well He must also be good when it is not. The gospel must be true in every situation, in every heartache, and in every season – because if it isn’t, would it really be called Good News?
We live in a world that’s ruled by sin, in bodies that know decay. There are seasons in which we are privileged to forget it – but our reality remains. Without Jesus we are hopeless. We are dying. We are lost.
“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
1 Corinthians 15:57
The Advent of our Savior still comes bringing with it His light (Luke 1:78-79). A babe born in a manger. Immanuel. God with us through every dark, lonely night, promising us His mercies at the break of each new day (Lamentations 3:22-23).
We don’t remember the HOPE, and PEACE, and LOVE, and JOY of Advent for the sake of lighting candles. We don’t celebrate Christmas with the empty traditions of the world – wishing upon the stars, writing letters to Santa, or believing in red-nosed reindeer and frosty snowmen. We cling to the promises of God like the lifeline that they are and we rejoice that HOPE is found, PEACE is ours, LOVE’s come down, and we’ve been offered JOY in exchange for the sadness that seeks to overwhelm us – even in the valley of the shadow of death.
Because we’ve been given victory in Jesus’ name.
Our God did not distance Himself from our troubles or our heartache. He entered in. Drew close. Clothed Himself in skin so that we could touch Him with ours. No other god in all the world for all of time would dare lower themselves to our level. But Jesus…
“…who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
Jesus came to rescue and redeem us from the filth around us and the filth inside us. He came to die. In our place. He came to rise victorious over sin, and death, and the grave that enslaved us to give us new life in His name.
So even though we grieve, even though we carry heavy weights in this world, we do not grieve as those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13), and we do not carry on alone (Matthew 11:28-30).
Celebrating Christmas this year may not look like what it has in the past. It might feel defiant, or broken, or full of unspeakable sorrow. Celebrate anyway. Our God is no stranger to sorrow. He is not unfamiliar with grief (Isaiah 53:3a). He will not hide Himself, disguised by the merry-making of Christmas, but invites us to come as we are.
So, come to the manger.
Come with your sadness, your anger, your gladness.
Come with hands held high and heart-filled praise.
Come weep beside this cradle and hold fast to what is true.
Come to the grit and dirt of a stable that housed the King of Kings so you could meet Him in this broken, worn out moment.
Come to the manger and worship, even if a sacrifice of praise is all you’ve left to give.
Come because what we believe about Him is the only thing that really matters in this life.
Come because He’s worthy and He’s still so very good.
About the Writer
Christine is wife to Michael, homeschooling boy momma of three, and a lover of words. She’s an author and blogger who also loves to sing, sew, and drink coffee (in no particular order).
Wednesday, January 18, 2023, 7-9 PM.
Willow Creek Church (Huntley campus), 38W133 Huntley Rd, Dundee Township, IL
In honor of Human Trafficking Awareness Month this January, you are invited to attend The Truth About Trafficking.
Join local community leaders for a critical panel discussion on the issues surrounding trafficking and exploitation. You’ll learn myths vs. reality, risk factors and indicators, and how you can rise up to help.
Panel will consist of representatives from various community sectors: McHenry County State’s Attorney, McHenry County Sheriff’s Office, FBI Chicago, outreach ministry New Name, Advocate Sherman Hospital, survivor leaders, and of course, Refuge for Women Chicago!
This event is free and open to the public. Please reserve your seat here.
This is an excellent opportunity to invite some friends to learn more about the issues of trafficking and exploitation in our community. We look forward to seeing you there
As CityLine Women, it’s important to us not only to grow personally in our walks with God, but also to be the hands and feet of Jesus outside of our local, church community. Here are three serving opportunities you can take advantage of:
- AWANA is a volunteer-run program for children starting at age 3 all the way up through 5th grade. The club meets at 6:30-8 pm on Wednesdays and is made possible by dedicated and faithful leaders like you! This is a perfect opportunity to serve families within CityLine and the surrounding community.
- We are collecting items for Rose of Sharon at the women’s breakfast on Jan. 28. View the list of requested items online.
- SPA Women’s Ministry Homes.
If you are interested in any of these opportunities, please contact Frances Jimenez.
Join a Women’s Community Group today and be part of Bible study, fellowship, accountability, and fun!
If you have the heart to serve women and are interested in joining our women’s ministry events/hospitality team, we would love to connect with you.
If you have a gift in the fine arts (painting, spoken word, dance, writing, etc.), we would love to hear from you.