Jesus’ birth – the starting point for God becoming real to us

When we feel like the world is crushing us with its endless obligations and so much time spent with so little to show for it, it is easy for depression and frustration to kick in. I mean, what’s the purpose of it all? And if you’re a Christian it can feel even worse, because it seems like nothing is being accomplished and what must God think of us?

Well, we know what God thinks of us, because in the birth of Jesus he put himself into our skin to feel what we feel. And it worked, because he was in tears too, just like us, when the pressures and frustrations of life were crushing him (Hebrews 5:7). We can rest assured, then, that he doesn’t tut-tut at our despair and the depressed moods we get into. Instead, he deeply feels for us.

And does that then become the starting point for God feeling more real to us, when it dawns on us that what we’re going through is as real to him as it is to us? And that’s why he “is able to deal gently” with us when we’re “ignorant and going astray,” Hebrews 5:2, “since he himself is subject to weakness.”

But that’s only the starting point, isn’t it? – because we still need to feel that he understands, right? I know in Scripture that Christ promises to rescue us from despair – just like he rescued Paul from his despair in 2 Corinthians 1:8-9 – but do those promises feel real personally?

I need them to feel real, though, because it’s enormously frustrating and downright depressing when I’m not feeling that good, I can’t help out with all the needs at home and I’m constantly having to change plans and cancel things when I’m feeling lousy. Living feels so futile when you can’t do much and you have to watch others having to fill in for you. And their attempts at being cheerful to keep your spirits up only make things worse too, because they only remind you of how miserable you must be to live with.

Perhaps it’s to make Jesus’ birth become real for them too, though, because in their frustration and depression at not being able to help you, they need God to be just as real for them. And this is exactly the occasion for God to become real, because Jesus was born to become our living High Priest, and he lives to intercede for us, so every frustrating and depressing episode in our lives is just the opportunity he needs to prove he’s real. And the only way we can find that out personally is – to trust him and see.


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