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A chaotic Christmas

By Nathan Rice

I don’t think there is any doubt that 2020 will go down in history. This year has seen more than its share of turmoil.

The coronavirus shot fear into the heart of our nation. People flocked to stores stocking up on essentials, creating a shortage of many products. Empty shelves gave a post-apocalyptic look and an uneasy feeling.

The government responded to the virus by shuttering many businesses, leaving people out of work and without an income. People debated the government’s response, and everyone picked a side. The arguments quickly became ugly and mean-spirited.

During this time, civil unrest set into our nation. Protests broke out from sea to shining sea.

To top it off, a political battle over control of the nation led to an even greater division among Americans. Bitterness and anger swelled to the top on both sides of the aisle.

The consequences of this turmoil are easy to see. Mental health workers have seen a considerable increase in those seeking assistance, suicide numbers are up, and drug overdoses have skyrocketed.

This has been a chaotic year, but chaos in our world is nothing new. A few thousand years ago, much of the world was ruled by the brutal regime of the Roman Empire. Those who dared cross the empire were met with an iron fist.

During this time, the people from the country of Judea were growing restless of Roman rule and longed to restore their nation. Many people claimed to be prophets and teachers, but their speeches often led to confusion and division instead of uniting the conquered country. The people of Judea were a conquered and confused people living under a brutal regime. Talk about chaos!

This is the world that Jesus entered. The Son of God was not born in a time when everything was running smoothly. He came to our world when everything had fallen apart. He stepped into a world filled with chaos.

Jesus was not afraid of this chaos. In fact, He said it was the reason He came. He would tell all who were with earshot that he came to rescue the lost, confused, hurt and scared. Jesus never ran from chaos. He ran to those trapped in the chaos of the world and enslaved by their own sins.

My prayer for this Christmas is that we will ask Jesus to enter the chaos of our world. I hope we stop thinking that Jesus is only interested in “good people who have it all together.” Jesus said His reason for coming was to seek and save the lost, going as far as to say that He did not come to call righteous people.

I hope this Christmas teaches us that we do not have to hide the chaos in our world or the chaos in our lives from Jesus. Instead, we should invite Him into our world and into our lives. He didn’t run from chaos 2,000 years ago when He came as a baby, and He’s not scared of the chaos in our world or lives today. The only question for us is if we will allow Him into our chaos.

Nathan Rice is a Hampton Roads native and can be reached at nrice@abnb.org.