The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had seen and heard, which were just as they had been told. Luke 2:20
Is “happily ever after” real?
If you’ve ever wrestled with questions like, “Will this next treatment finally heal me?” or “Will love ever really work out for me?” or “Can I forgive the person who hurt me?” you’ve navigated the tricky space of wishing for the world to be as we long for it to be: a place where our stories end the way they should.
Incredibly, the Christmas story dares us to hope that a forever happily ever after ending is exactly what God plans to give us. In the chapters between his birth and death, Jesus’s life shone as bright as the Sun for a few years as he miraculously fed and healed multitudes of people. But then everything went dark. Jesus was unjustly arrested, and all his friends and family despaired as they watched the government torture and execute him.
That wasn’t how they thought things were supposed to go. I hope you find their story consoling today if your world is upside down in some way. You aren’t the only person in need of hope.
The thing about “happily ever after” is that it takes time. For the shepherds that night, they had only the hope that the baby in the manger would grow up to save and deliver them. I wonder if they lived long enough to see Jesus become a teacher and healer. If they did, did they still hold the hope those angels promised them after Jesus was crucified? Could I hold onto hope through something that disillusioning? Could you?
The story of Jesus’s birth, life, death, and resurrection teaches us that if we have not arrived at “happily ever after” yet, then we aren’t at the end of the story. It is a promise from the God who created all things (even us!) that happily ever after is actually more real than the painful darkness we must pass through in the middle of the story.
I hope you can rejoice and glorify God today because as the hymn, Oh Holy Night, promises, a new and glorious morning awaits us because Jesus was born.
God, I thank you for the unique hope of Christmas; that someday my story will end as it should. Help me hold onto hope until happily ever after becomes my reality. In Jesus’s name, Amen.
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