The Other Side of Christmas: December 9

A Thrill of Hope        

December 9, 2019
by Chris Cepulis       

Galatians 4:3-7 (ESV) 
In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. At least that’s what the old Christmas song says. Yet Christmas, for so many, can be at best a difficult time. Loss, pressure to keep up with Pinterest Christmas expectations, family strife, illness, loneliness, or distance from family can all contribute to making what should be a joyous, light-filled season into a season you just need to “get through.” Christmas can be exhausting.  
Our church just finished a sermon series called “The Road to Recovery”. We talked about our tendency to carry around hurts, habits, and hang-ups and how those things can, as Galatians says, "enslave us". They keep us from living life as God intended. We were designed for relationship with God and for that relationship to lead and guide all our other relationships, including the things we tell ourselves about ourselves.
Paul tells us in these verses, however, that we are no longer slaves to those hurts, habits, and hang-ups. In fact, we have received adoption as sons (and daughters) of the King. Jesus came, born of a woman, to redeem (save) us and to free us of from the confines of a law we could never hope to keep. We now call God our Father, our Abba, and are heirs to God’s kingdom. We have gone from slaves to sons and daughters. We have gone from having no ability to control any aspect of our lives to the freedom that being a child of the Most High gives us. We have gone from powerless to having access to unlimited power. We have gone from a relationship void of love to one forged in love.  
That is what we celebrate at Christmas. Trees, lights, good food, and family are all wonderful elements of this season, but we celebrate because Jesus came to take us from slavery to sonship. That is the thrill of hope the weary world needs.  
Take a few minutes from the busyness of the season to make a list of the ways that Jesus’ coming has freed your heart and life. Then take the bold step to share that with a friend who needs to see what Christmas is really all about.  
Thank You Father for sending Your Son, born of a woman and under the law so that I might have access to adoption as a child of the King. Thank You for setting me free from the slavery of my hurts, habits, and hang-ups. Help me to live in that freedom this Christmas season.
About the author:
Chris Cepulis
Chris Cepulis is the Worship Ministries Director at Stafford Crossing. She’s been a part of the church since 2013. When she’s not on stage as part of the worship band, you will find her serving alongside the tech team. She loves teaching guitar, watching movies, and hanging out with the girls in the young ladies’ small group she co-leads.