For someone going through a great trial, the stories of Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph, the Red-nosed Reindeer, and Santa Claus come short in delivering hope for this holiday season. But there is something unique about the original Christmas Story which can warm the coldest (and most downtrodden) of hearts.

The story began as Almighty God surveyed the world scene. Psalm 14:2–3 describes what He saw: The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. God saw a world headed on a crash course toward destruction. He saw man’s selfishness, lust, pride, envy, and the strife these sins caused in their fullest expression. He also saw the pain, suffering, misery, and heartache mankind experienced as a result of sin. But God still loved us. He decided to send His only begotten Son into the world to redeem it from the curse of sin. His Son would fittingly be called Emmanuel, meaning “God with us.”

Emmanuel offered Himself on a cross, where He died to atone for the sins of the world. After completing the work of redemption, Emmanuel rose from the dead and ascended up to Heaven to be with His Father. Now that He was no longer with the people on Earth, they thought life would return to its routine, miserable existence. However, a short time later, Emmanuel sent His Spirit to fill those who had believed on Him. Now, they could rejoice at all times and in all circumstances, for He would be in them forever.

This story is still being written. If you have put your trust in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is living within you at this very moment. You might not feel like this is true as you wrestle with your circumstances, but it is a proven reality. What can you do about it? Take courage. The same God whose presence with the denizens of Earth brought comfort 2,000 years ago offers assurance of His abiding presence in you today.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.