Best Christmas Letter I’ve gotten

Below is a letter I just got today from my friend and mentor Tom Hammon.  Enjoy

 

Friends,
“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” C.S. Lewis

 

Christmas is a frenzy for most of us. We want the house, the meal, the gifts, the relationships, the family, the decorations…everything to be just right! We are willing to be over-busy, to spend too much money, and to postpone other pressing concerns to make that “‘perfect” Christmas happen.  I have wrestled with the commercialization and excess of Christmas for years and have come to a new and, for me, surprising place.

 

Everyone yearns for heaven –  eternal life filled with unspeakable thrills, glorying in the presence of Almighty God. That is a natural desire, a God-given hunger that goes to the core of who we are.  How we celebrate Christmas has become, for many, our attempt to live out that heavenly desire here on earth. We “dream of white Christmases”; will want to be “home for Christmas”; there is “no place like home for the holidays”; and on and on. GOOD food, GOOD relationships, GOOD surroundings, GOOD music, and PERFECT gifts that will make us happy are the dream. Christmas is our attempt again every year to create a heaven on earth, our picture of heaven and we do whatever it takes to make it wonderful.

But it never quite happens that way…

 

For those with fractured relationships, minimal resources, a hostile home environment and no hope, Christmas is a nightmare – a stark and unwelcome reminder of how difficult life is. Everyone else  seems to be rejoicing but we live in unrelenting pain. It can be the hardest time of the year – with dashed hopes– a cruel joke that mocks those deep yearnings.

For others with better life circumstances, the frenzy and din of frantic Christmas activity snuffs out the hoped-for end result. It is, instead, a month-long  race to stores, malls, parties, events and headlong into debt.

Then we all wake up the next day and life drones on. The Day actually may even have been great but we now face life and a long, grey, cold winter.

The quest for Heaven was left wanting, far less than hoped for and is, yet again, postponed.

 

Phillips Brooks’ classic carol “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem” has these stirring lyrics, “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight”. Our deepest needs and yearnings are met in  Jesus Christ, “in Thee tonight”…and nowhere else. Jesus throws  open the doors of heaven and  gives us deep fulfillment that we  desperately long for. He did this in the most un-Christmas-like way – born of a young, unwed Mom and reluctant Dad; no room available in a reasonable dwelling;  in an unsanitary, unheated barn (there was a cow in the delivery room!); ignored by the masses for whom He came; visited by a few pauper shepherds and some odd astronomers from a far-away culture, hunted down by the authorities…obscure, starkly cold…so like our God not to do it our way.

 

Our hopes and fears, time and again unmet and unfulfilled by empty promises and broken humanity are embraced and fulfilled in Jesus Christ. He is our heaven. Would that we are ever mindful of the obscurity of His entry into human history and the glorious heaven that awaits us because He was born to die and rise for us. The deepest yearnings in each of us can fill to overflow, exceeding our wildest dreams in Jesus Christ. Let the celebration begin!!

 

“For to us a Son is born, to us a son is given…and he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:5-7

 

Merry Christmas!!

 

Tom

 

Tom Hammon – Young Life International

Senior Regional Director

UK/Ireland/Scandinavia

Europe – 07532-195-742

U.S. – 502-552-9471

thammon@1270.younglife.org

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: