"When they saw the star, they were overjoyed." Matthew 2:10
I remember being in a match down by 6 points in the first period. How can you make up a deficit like this when it’s already 6-0 in the first? However, my opponent was breathing very hard early on, so I believed that if I pushed him he would break. This would allow me to make a comeback. In the second period I was able to escape for 1 point, get a takedown for 2 points, and turn him to his back for 2 points. It’s 6 to 5 going into the third and it was my turn to choose so I chose bottom. I easily escaped for 1 point…now it’s tied. With only 30 seconds left on the clock I shot in on a double leg, lifted him, and for a little icing on the cake slammed him (legally of course) for 2 more points. The ending score 8-6…I win, BOOM! Needless to say I was overjoyed with this win.
As great as that match was for me, I've had my share of losses too. I remember wrestling in the Junior High State Tournament. It didn’t go so well. I lost my first match, won the second and then lost the next match – eliminated from the tournament. I was embarrassed, hurt, mad, and certainly not joyful. However, something happened with this tournament that still affects me to this day and gives me life. We had a long drive home and it was just my dad and I in the car. I wasn’t talking since I had lost, and lost badly. The silence was eerie and heavy. It had been over an hour with nothing said. Suddenly my dad breaks the silence and speaks up. With a great amount of compassion and love he looked at me and said “Son, no matter how many times you lose you will always be my champion, do you know that?”
What my dad said to me that day wasn’t about wrestling. It was about a father speaking to his son’s identity. It was the moment when my wins and losses didn’t matter to my dad, what mattered to my dad was me. Regardless of wrestling, I’m always going to be his son. In the same way, the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 6:18, "And I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty." Also in Deuteronomy 31:6 and Hebrews 13:5 it says that God will never leave us nor forsake us. Not only are we His sons and daughters but also He will never leave us nor forsake us even in our failures. Knowing that and believing it helps us find joy even when we aren’t doing well in wrestling, even life. God is a gracious and compassionate father who is ready to love us even when we aren’t lovable.
Matthew 2:10 says, “When they saw the star they were overjoyed.” They knew what this star meant and whom it represented. You can be overjoyed this Christmas just as the wise men were when they saw the star. The reason is – regardless of your winning and losing – God will never leave you nor forsake you. He is your hope and I pray that by the grace of God you see how much He loves you. When we begin to see ourselves the way Jesus does (accepted, worthy, and unconditionally loved) our life becomes reoriented. When we begin to rely on Jesus, the One who came to earth to take our place, we begin to see ourselves the way He does. John 16:13 reminds us that it is the Spirit who now directs our path in life. The Spirit leads us into Truth, and the Truth is – regardless of my winning and losing – I can have joy because of the One who loves me...Jesus. His Spirit will help you to see this truth not only during Christmas but also for the rest of your life.