Fall 2008 I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Guatemala for three months. While there we traveled around the countries on the weekends. One weekend we went to a border town with Mexico. The town’s name was La Valle, The Valley. The name of the town described it perfectly. The town was surrounded by mountains. Growing up in flat Florida I never really understood the term valley until going to this small town.
While there were many blessings to living in the valley like being protected by storms the curses often outweighed the blessings. La Valle often flooded, it was hard to grow crops and hard to import or export anything as they were surrounded by huge mountains with rough roads going up and down. People often felt as if they were forever stuck in La Valle.
While there the feeling of being alone and isolated was contagious! We all felt alone especially at night when there were no lights to be found anywhere. I finally understood the sentiments of Psalm 23 and walking through valley of the shadows of death. A valley is a place of isolation and literally feeling down. In our scripture for this week found in Isaiah 40 we hear the good news that every Valley will be exalted. I do not think Isaiah was speaking about a geographical restructuring but rather that the valleys in our lives will be exalted and lifted up.
The coming of Christ means the coming of a promise to lift each of us out of isolation and loneliness and pain. We experience that in part here on earth and will experience in fullness in eternity.
The Christmas season can be very exciting but can also feel like an isolating valley as many of us long to be near to family or to hear the voice of a loved one who has passed. Even in one of the merriest times of the year we can feel lonely and isolated and full of pain. If you feel this way you are not alone. AND for this Christ came to earth- to make all things whole!
As we draw towards celebrating God becoming man in Christ, Christmas, may each of us hold onto the promise and reason why Christ came. Christ came to be God’s love on earth that all may have life and have it eternal. In times of sadness or isolation or pain I hope each of us might draw close to God in prayer and devotion. This might mean opening up your Bible and reading the Christmas story. Drawing close to God might mean turning off the TV and closing your eyes and spending a few moments sharing with God your feelings. Drawing close to God might mean getting outside and taking a walk on your lunch break.
God’s desire is not that we stay in our valley and God is ever present to pull us out!
This Christmas season let us cling to Christ tightly who is our hope and salvation!
See you Sunday!