My childhood experiences of Christmas were beautiful Rockwellian scenes. Those memories talk to me as I age and contemplate the chaotic landscape of the adult world riddled with pain, suffering, and the laborious effort to raise my family. As I have aged and seen suffering, experienced suffering, and seen the pain that surround us, I want Christmas to be true.

The story of a God determined to take upon himself the full weight of human misery, sin, and suffering so that he might banish them from the garden. The hero who touches the leper, befriends the outcasts, drink and eats with tax collectors, and sinners. He is with us in our profound brokenness. This is good news. The God who had everything, loses everything to be the man of sorrows, so that we who have nothing can gain everything in him.

The Christmas story puts a term limit on suffering, sin and death. The story opens the door, to be reconciled with God, our darkest secrets and our annoying neighbor. It conveys the deepest sense of inclusivity, diversity, and self understanding, as John Newton once said, ” We are great sinners and he is great savior.” It is the divine invitation to come home.

The gospel rescues us from making the basis of joy our fleeting status, wealth, health, community, or keeping moral standards. It gives us a reason to play again.

Matt Wallace, Minot

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