With Christmas just a few days away, the mood among many Christians I’ve spoken to is polarized. Among those who recognize and celebrate this holiday, are those abounding in joy and excitement, what most people call “the Christmas spirit.” And then there are those who are “not really feeling it.” Those who are stressed, overwhelmed, feeling rushed or underappreciated…or perhaps grieving. Some are facing their first Christmas without a loved one. Their first Christmas alone. Or a Christmas with the shadow of a diagnosis, a discord, or an uncertain future ahead.

I’ve been feeling the plight of my fellow Christians in the latter category a lot this season. I am by nature a very Christmas-spirited gal. Nothing gets me excited quite like this time of year. Yet there are so many of my brothers and sisters who are struggling this year, and my heart aches for them.

This blog is for them, and really, for us all.

This time of year, many Christians celebrate the birth of Christ. Sometimes I’m not sure we grasp the broader picture of that: what was set into motion on that glorious day. How the purpose of the ages began to be fulfilled with the coming of Jesus, and how just a few decades later, the greatest secret gift of all time would be unwrapped: the part that we, the uncircumcised, the Gentiles, would have in God’s family.

Ephesians 3:11-12 tells us that “This [the wisdom of God revealed through the construction of His church] was consistent with his purpose throughout the ages that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access to God with confidence through our trust in him.” And I have been thinking a lot about the latter of these two verses.

With the purpose of the ages accomplished in Christ, we have access to God which was hitherto unknown. Our God is not far off to us, He is near. We can have boldness in that; we can confidently approach God because our trust in Jesus forged a bridge between broken man and the perfect Creator.

So as Christmas draws near, I want to encourage, specifically, those who are downtrodden, unhappy, and afraid—I urge you to boldly approach God and give it all to Him. All of your burdens, all of your cares…through your trust in Jesus, lay them at the Father’s feet. They are too heavy for you to carry alone. But as we all reflect on what significance the birth of Christ had and still has on the world, let’s also embrace what significance his sacrifice and resurrection brought: the closing of the gap between us and God, which allows us to access Him with everything that weighs us down. To surrender it to Him.

You are a part of His purpose for the ages. You are a part of His family. And at this time of year, when peace and good will are so close at heart, I encourage us all to seek the peace that can be found nowhere else but through trust in Jesus and in the loving arms of the Father.

Merry Christmas!