But Then Something Happened…
Have you ever been in conversation with a true storyteller at a Christmas party? They seem to arrest everyone’s attention when they throw into the story the line, “but then something happened…” And as everyone gathers around him, leaning in slack-jawed over their cups of eggnog, marvelling at the enchanted words pouring from the gifted communicator’s lips they listen in to how the story will end.
Everyone wants to know the “something” that happens in a story. The moment that turns the heat up on the anecdote to keep the listener’s absorption in the tale that’s being told. But what if the something that happened in your story wasn’t what you were hoping for? Perhaps it was a bad report from the doctor, or a broken relationship that you thought would last forever, or a business that you poured your life savings into and then COVID hit and you’re now facing bankruptcy?
It seems that Christmas has a way of magnifying our but then something happened moments over the year. Those messy, problematic moments in the middle of our stories are painful and disappointing. Like the cruel comment or criticism that felt like an avalanche coming toward you, flooring your confidence so you don’t try anything new again. Or the Christmas movie you decided to watch which only heightened your awareness that in real life, strained relationships don’t always get resolved under a sprig of mistletoe or in the flurry of a magical snowfall on Christmas Eve.
The Apostle Paul had many, ‘but then something happened’ moments during his life. His story is littered with disappointments and difficulties. And yet regardless of every setback, every obstacle, and every defeat, Paul’s faith never wavered. He devoted his life to planting churches even when it was challenging and painful.
In the book of Titus, named after his young apprentice, Paul reminds his young disciple during his training of the moments before they were called to plant churches. He reminds Titus that before they were Christ-followers they were foolish, rebellious, and deceived, spending their lives being hateful to one another. But that all changed when ‘something happened: God our Saviour and His overpowering love and kindness for humankind entered our world; He came to save us.’ (Titus 3:3-4).
We read passages like this and yet we still try to keep our foolish, rebellious ways hidden from Jesus during the Christmas celebrations. We believe all our challenges have no place in the stable, concluding that all that overpowering love and kindness is not enough to deal with any of our painful something happened moments. We determine that our Christmas will be neatly tied up in a bow, thank you very much, just like the presents sitting under the tree.
But it seems that no matter how hard we try to wrap our jagged edges into the shiny covering of a smile on Christmas day, we feel an ache.
We look at the baby lying in the stable moment of the nativity scene, and we wonder, “Could this baby be the Saviour whose compassion is not afraid to reach down into my something happened unstable moments and heal my busted up, broken soul? Could this baby that was born to rescue mankind be able to pour out all His overpowering love and kindness into my open wounds and help heal my something happened moments?”
A wholehearted – YES!
Because through the overpowering love and kindness that entered our world on that first Christmas night, Jesus was able to endure the suffering of the cross so that your something happened moments don’t define you, they don’t get covered up, and they’re not the end of your story. Jesus willingly took on every one of your something happened moments so the gift of salvation could be given to you, freely.
Now, that is a gift worth unwrapping this Christmas, don’t you think?
Is Christmas a painful time for you? Do you remember all your something happened moments that you’d rather forget about?
I pray, that this Christmas you will unwrap the gift of salvation. Let Jesus pour out His overpowering love and kindness into those something happened moments and allow Him to heal your wounds this season.