Just north of where I live there exists a relic from the past: a drive-in theater. When (if) the winter weather finally breaks, it opens, and they show movies on the weekends until late October. At that time, along with a thank you to their patrons, they put on their marquis, ‘Closed for the season.’
I drove by the currently closed drive-in the other day and was struck by those familiar words as we approach another Christmas. Seemingly everywhere you see or hear ‘tis the season,’ as December 25th draws near. What is a time of joy for many, with thoughts of family, presents and parties abounding, others find deeply depressing for any number of reasons. Hence, my thoughts on closed for the season.
In my broad circle of acquaintances there are several who will be going through Christmas without their spouse for the first time. Their sense of loss and loneliness is heightened as the calendar relentlessly chugs toward the 25th. Their pain has them closed for the season.
I know others whose financial struggles are heightened at the holidays. They want to buy gifts for their kids, but the heat bill must be paid. Their jobs aren’t giving them any security either, as more and more in this already economically stressed area are being laid off. Uncertainty has them closed for the season.
Still others are going through the annual tension caused because their kids are estranged from them. Attempts are made at reconciliation, but seemingly they go for naught. Stiff reunions are accented by more arguing. Anger has these folks closed for the season.
If these examples, or any I haven’t mentioned that you are currently causing you to feel closed for the season, please know that there is hope! It is found in the true ‘reason for the season,’ Jesus Christ. The Prophet Isaiah wrote of this hope some 700 years before the birth of the Lord: Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14 NIV). Immanuel means God with us. It is a personal promise from a personal God. Just as it was to the Israelites in the dark days when Isaiah prophesied, the hope of knowing the Savior is just as real today.
If you find yourself feeling closed for the season, I ask you to take a moment to simply reflect on those words the prophet wrote. They truly are incredible; a virgin conceiving? And then her child was to be God with us? It’s almost to crazy to believe, and maybe you don’t. I also have plenty of people in my circle who do not. If that’s you, I pose to you the same question I put to them: How is your life going without God in it? May I encourage you to consider the awesome possibility that what was said so long ago did in fact happen. If you will, allow that wonder in, you may well find those things keeping you closed for the season will lose their power over you as the power of our loving God permeates your life.
Being a realist who has been at the trade of pastor for a while now, I understand that not everyone is or even will be open to the things of God. Yet I press on, because you are so very important to Him (and me too!). For your consideration I offer some more words from Isaiah that also point to the saving heart of the Lord: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 NIV).
Here this same promised Savior of the world is described in a most glorious way. The Son of God, sent by the Father to bring salvation to the world, is indeed wonderful, mighty and everlasting. The peace He brings to a lost soul, as the bible says, truly transcends human understanding.
Does it all sound too good to be true? Where’s the catch? Friend, it is true! And the only catch is in you risking a little faith to believe it. I know what it is to be trapped in despair with no human way out. I have felt the pain of loss and the debilitating guilt caused by my actions. Thankfully, I now know the nearly inexpressible joy that comes with being a child of God. What seemed to be permanently closed for every season in me has now been opened. May this be the time that you can experience the freeing love of Jesus; tis, after all, the season!

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