Lately there have been a lot of devastating wildfires in the state of California. During the first fires we could see smoke in the sky near our house and the sun was an eery orange color...it felt like the end of the world it was all so eery and glum. There were fires in Northern California that destroyed so many acres and so many homes. And right now there are fires raging all over Southern California and CNN is calling it all perhaps the worst fires the state of California has ever seen...which is very significant.
Today I received news that a close friend was near a fire and needed to evacuate. He is safe and it doesn't seem like there is anything to worry about. But it was definitely scary and it still is as the fires are not done burning. And to top it all off I received that news at church right before I had to go on stage and sing "Away in a Manger" and "Joy to the World." Pretty much the last songs I wanted to be singing in that moment...how can I be experiencing all this fear and grief as I think about all those who are affected by the fires, how can I have all this on my mind and then go sing about Christmas? My mind, my heart was not ready for that in that moment.
But my friend said in that moment that we cannot acknowledge the goodness of Christmas, the gift of God's love, without acknowledging the alternative to that: fear, pain, hurt, suffering. These things are not irrelevant. Not only does God care about these issues immensely; He intercedes right there. These are the reasons Jesus came on Christmas. He was interceding for all the fear, pain, hurt, and suffering we experience post-Fall. Jesus's life was about bringing about an ending to those things.
"Be near me Lord Jesus I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever and love me I pray
Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care
And fit us for heaven to live with Thee there"
"Joy to the World"