From the pulpit: Find true happiness in the Lord

By David Stephenson / Guest Columnist

The holidays can be a time of happiness or sadness.

They can be a time of reflection, remembering, and rejoicing all rolled into one thoughtful overwhelming ball.

The end of the year is near and life slows down just enough to get some quality time around that crazy Aunt that you rarely see.

Memories of past Thanksgiving and Christmas activities flood the mind as boxes are dragged up from the basement or down from the attic, ornaments are unpacked, and decorations are put in place.

Moms, Dads, Papaws, husbands, wives, children or friends are remembered.

It becomes quite common to hear, “Do you remember when…?”

It is a time of looking back as well as looking forward.

It can be a first Thanksgiving for a newly married couple or the first sight of Santa at the mall for a growing toddler. Each person has such a different experience of the holidays. How can two people on the same street living in houses right next to each other have such different experiences?

One house can contain a lonely young woman, recently divorced and currently heartbroken with no family except Jack Daniels. In the house just 20 yards away, there lives an older couple anticipating all their children and all their grandchildren invading them; two completely different worlds on exactly the same street.

There are many people with different thoughts and emotions this time of year yet there is One who is the same, unchanging, forever.

His name is Jesus and he knows and has been through it all.

He has made new friends only to be betrayed and to left feeling very alone.

He has both calmed storms and been in storms.

He has both healed and been killed.

He knows what life is like.

Why did the Lord of the universe subject himself to the pains of a human life?

He was pierced for our mistakes and crushed for our sin.

His punishment brought us peace and his wounds heal us.

Let the writer of Hebrews remind us all during this season that

“we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are yet was without sin…we have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”

Happy or sad, let your soul be anchored to One who is a sure foundation this holiday season.

Give that some thought today.

David Stephenson is pastor at Grace Presbyterian Church in Chelsea