Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. Luke 2:25
When I thought, “My foot slips,” your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up. When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul. Psalm 94:18-19
A belated Merry Christmas to you and yours. This holiday had me busy with family and travel so posting a Christmas "hello" was not at the top of my to-do list. But I think we all understand the busyness of the holidays and chose to have family as a priority. The inspiration for this post did come after a long day of travel to stay with my parents for Christmas. Last year was the first time I wasn't with my family for the holidays and I wasn't going to repeat that set of circumstances this year.
During my many hours drive, I passed through a few towns and in those towns are churches and in front of many of those churches are signs. Because of the season many of those signs might say things like "Jesus is the Reason for the Season" or "Merry Christmas" or "All we want for Christmas is your Presence." As I got closer to my parent's house, I passed a church with a sign that read "Jesus is Our Consolation."
I admit that when I first read that sign my thoughts went to the idea of consolation as in consolation prize. The dictionary defines consolation prize as a prize that is given to someone who has not won a contest. I was like "wait a sec, Jesus isn't a second best prize! He lived a sinless life and died so that I may have eternal life. Jesus isn't a consolation; He's the best prize a person could have; He's the grand prize." Maybe your thoughts go there as well when you hear people referring to Jesus as a consolation.
I rolled the idea of Jesus as our consolation around in my head some more. If I looked that the phrase "Jesus is Our Consolation" from a different side, Jesus as a consolation prize is a great thing. Why? Romans 3:23 tells us that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Taking this information and combining it with Romans 6:23 which says "the wages of sin is death." According to Scripture, the grand prize that I deserve as a sinner is death. Since what I deserve is death, then the last part of Romans 6:23 explains why Jesus is our consolation: "but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
I thought about the idea of consolation some more. The dictionary defines consolation as the act or an instance of trying to make (someone) feel less sadness or disappointment. A synonym for consolation is comfort. Digging into my Bible dictionaries I found that the Greek word for consolation and comfort is paraklesis (Strongs 3874). Paraklesis means an exhortation, admonition, or encouragement for the purpose of strengthening and establishing the believer in the faith.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17.
Think about the comfort that we receive from God. We know that the comfort doesn't always mean that the struggles go away but we do know that He is there for us to hold onto during the struggles. We know that His purpose is being worked out in us; that the things taking place in our lives are not random. Personally I find comfort in this. Yes, we will have sufferings but we will have comfort as well.
Yes, initially my brain went in the wrong direction when I saw the sign. But after more thought and study, we can see that Jesus IS our consolation, our comfort. His sinless life, death on the cross, and resurrection are the best consolation for which a person could ask. That consolation prize is a free gift too! (Romans 6:23)
Sisters, I pray that you will cling to the fact that Jesus is our consolation and comfort as we head into a new year. Take sometime today to thank God for the comfort He has provided and will provide us.
ps: It's been awhile since I've shared some creature photos with you. Here you go!
T was helping me while I worked on this post: