Empathizing With You

Christi Hagans
November 30, 2021

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:14–16

The days leading up to Christmas are full of colorful decor, holiday cheer, familiar songs, and anticipation of time with those you love. But those same days can also be full of gloomy reminders, forced smiles or sentiments, and an anxious heart about the unknowns before you. 

How often do you find yourself scrambling during the holidays, trying to finalize plans or meet deadlines or find the perfect gift that says “I love you”?

How often do you feel a lack of peace and joy and instead have a bountiful amount of striving-for-the-next-best-thing?

How often do you feel overcome by your circumstances and ask, “Where is God?”

For some of us, these questions hit really close to home. It’s okay to admit we strive, we get anxious, we struggle to experience peace in the season of anticipating the Savior of the world. In admitting these things, we’re choosing to be honest with ourselves, which allows us to be honest with Him. 

Now, take a deep breath and remind yourself of truth. Remind yourself of the Savior who entered the world to end striving for perfection. Remind yourself of the Savior who already says, “My child, you are enough.” Remind yourself of the Savior who is trustworthy. 

The Scriptures tell us Jesus was tempted in every way, just as we are, and yet he did not sin. We can trust our Savior understands the temptation to scramble, the temptation to take on more stress than we need, the temptation to strive to be good enough.

When we look at Jesus’  life we see humility on display. He demonstrates how to deal with the specific temptations each of us will face: prayer and petitions with intense cries and tears to the One who can save us. 

Jesus lived humbly among us, perfectly, without sin, until the time of his death, providing humanity with a chance for redemption. Through his humility, he became the source of eternal salvation to those who follow him. He is now designated as a high priest who sits at the right hand of the Father. He prays on your behalf, watching as you wrestle with the sins that so easily entice you, empathizing and knowing how to pray for your heart to long for Him more than your fleshly desires.

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.

Hebrews 5:7–10

 This is one of the most encouraging reminders for those of us who struggle during the holidays. For some, the holidays can be a mixture of joy and sadness, and if we’re honest, that sadness can feel overwhelming at times. We long for an escape from the pain, the sorrow, the dreadful reminders of our current realities. And more often than not, we find ourselves at a crossroads needing to make a decision about how we will cope with our pain. 

Seeking the wide path of numbing, self indulgence, avoidance, and escape feels very tempting, but it will only provide temporary relief from the pain we experience. Seeking the narrow, more difficult path of relying on and trusting our Savior, seeking someone trustworthy, and sharing our struggles will be the more humbling but rewarding outcome. 

Jesus came to this world, not only to provide his people with comfort and joy in and through him but also in one another. While we find our ultimate fulfillment in Christ, we find a continual source of encouragement, accountability, and fellowship with the people of God. And if we’re honest, sometimes we need fellow saints to remind us of truth because we have a difficult time preaching the truth to ourselves.

Jesus was humble enough to walk among us, picking twelve men to journey with him, and retreating often to connect with his Heavenly Father. So why do we think we wouldn’t need the same? He models for us a humble pattern of relying on those outside of ourselves: God and others. 

Friend, you can confidently approach him, knowing he will give you mercy and grace to help in your time of need. All you need to do is turn to him. 

Whatever you may be going through this holiday season, will you choose to follow Jesus’ example of humbly walking with others? Will you rely on him as your holy example of living in this world and resisting temptation? Can you envision him interceding for you as he watches you wrestle with your current sufferings in this world? Friend, you can confidently approach him, knowing he will give you mercy and grace to help in your time of need. All you need to do is turn to him. 

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