Heartbroken Holiday - Look for someone to love this Christmas season

"Hear my prayer, O Lord, listen to my cry for help; be not deaf to my weeping."

Psalm 39:12

Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy and happiness, but we know that for many it can be a season filled with incredible heartache and sorrow. On Monday afternoon KCWN broadcast live the Christmas eve service from Third Church; the message Kevin Korver shared was definitely not your typical softball Christmas message. He started with a blunt and frank - but true - statement, saying his message this year was different because he had no idea how many people sitting in the audience would still be alive next Christmas. That truth comes from a place of incredible pain for Kevin - his youngest son Kirk died from a sudden illness on March 20th of this year. Kevin shared that for six months after Kirk’s death he refused to praise God; he simply couldn’t do it. Then three months ago something slowly began to change, and he started to praise, even though his heart was at times still filled with incredible sorrow.

There are many Kevin Korvers out there this Christmas season. Maybe you know one. Maybe you are one. Maybe it’s a marriage that fell apart, a loved one who passed away, an addiction that has landed like an atomic bomb in the middle of a family, maybe it’s a crushing depression that has lingered for years…

For those of us who did have a very merry Christmas, Joni Eareckson Tada brings a challenge - it comes from her devotional today titled “Heartbroken Holiday.” She shares the story of a young single mother who watches he three kids run out the door on Christmas morning to be with their dad and his new wife, leaving her all alone, heart aching and spirit crushed. What did she do in her moment of despair? She cried out to a God who hears and understands.

From that story comes the challenge - will we be the one to lift the spirits of the broken and hurting this Christmas? And will we take an active role in seeking out those carrying such heavy burdens this Christmas? I know my first reaction is to resist - “But God, I have 2 young kids and I’m still dealing with chronic pain - I feel like I’m barely making it as it is. Are you really asking me to seek out someone who is hurting and reach out to them?” Yes, he is. The challenge from his servant Joni? Find a person who is wounded and hurting -- give the best gift this season; be the hands, heart and smile of Christ.

I guess in a way I’m answering that call tonight; I’ve been asked to share my testimony with the local Celebrate Recovery group here in Pella. It’s a story only God could write, one of our Heavenly Father doing the impossible in the heart of one of his rebellious sons. How might God use you to be the hands and feet of Christ to someone who is hurting today?