Discovery House
For God So Loved!

What Christmas Is Supposed to Look Like
Today’s Reading: Psalm 34:8–18


The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
(v. 18 NIV)


It was two weeks before Christmas 1998, and I could hardly wait. After a painful childhood and many terrible mistakes—including a cocaine overdose—I had given my life to Jesus and was engaged to a Christian man I loved deeply.

And then with one phone call, everything changed. My fiancé, David, had been killed in a freak workplace accident. At the end of that night of raw, suffocating pain, one thought pierced me: “God, this is not what Christmas is supposed to look like.”

Christmas should be flawless and beautiful, not tragic and painful . . . right? Yet so often, this shiny season can be the messiest, most disappointing time of year.

The first Christmas certainly was. In a dirty, stinky, disappointing muddle, the perfect, beautiful gift of Jesus arrived. I wonder: Did Immanuel, “God with us,” join humanity in such imperfection to reveal something perfect? Was His purpose to show us He is with us in everything—especially our messes?

I clung to this Scripture as I mourned: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).  My heart was shattered, but God met me there in the wreckage.

The beautiful message of Christmas is that God, through His pure gift of Jesus, reaches into our messes and restores us. In your wreckage, hold tightly to Jesus and He will save you. Immanuel often does His most powerful, healing work—at Christmas and every day—right in the middle of our worst disarray.

Cindy Bultema
Red Hot Faith