Do you ever get caught up in the craziness of Christmas? At least in my house Christmas shopping, Christmas programs, and Christmas plans seem to swallow up the 6 weeks leading up to Christmas itself! Knowing this, I try hard to focus on the meaning of Christmas. However, as I endeavor to do so, I recognize that we sing the same Christmas songs and hear the same Christmas story as we did last year, and the year before that, and likely for as long as we can remember!
Please don’t misunderstand me- the truth that Jesus came down into a world of pain, hurt, SIN, to sacrifice himself for you and for me will never lose its beauty, for it is inherently beautiful, wonderful, and beyond my comprehension. However, if we’re not careful we can allow our hearts to be relatively unmoved due to our great familiarity with this truth. So I wanted to take the time to read this beautiful portion of history again. I wanted to attempt to unravel each segment of it in my mind; in doing so I stumbled upon verses that I had probably often skipped over at this time of year. After all, they’re not in the traditional “Christmas chapters.” But as I read them, I think they could not be more appropriate for celebrating Christmas time, because they so beautifully picture for us the purpose of Jesus’s birth, and subsequently, His death.
Luke 4: 17-19 “And the scroll of prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor, He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives, and recovering sight to the blind, set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Read those words, and then read them again. Let them sink into your heart. In the spirit of the season, why did Jesus come? Sure, we all know the answer. But these words in Isaiah paint the picture so beautifully for us. He came to give good news to those who have nothing. He came to proclaim liberty to those held captive. He came to give sight to the blind, and free those who are burdened and oppressed. Even as I type this, tears come to my eyes. For though Jesus spoke these beautiful words of peace, power, hope and love the people hated him. They chased him out of the city. They did not understand what we see now.
They could not see that in while He would meet the physical needs of the poor, He was there to provide them with the complete richness of knowing their Savior. They could not see that although they wanted freedom from Rome, He was providing them with the greater internal freedom: freedom from darkness, from sin and from Satan. They could not see that though He would heal the eyes of the blind and provide them with sight, He would provide many blinded hearts with an eternal vision. And they could not see that He was more than the victor they wanted- He was the one providing them with victory capable of helping each one rise above his earthly circumstance by letting peace, hope, and truth reign in his heart.
As I read this I am also ashamed. For here before me I have this incredible news. I also have the opportunity to learn from these people who ridiculed Jesus- the ones who saw Him, touched Him, heard Him speak, and walked away. I have all of this truth in front of my eyes and in my heart- and how often do I share it? How often do I tell others that I know someone who can heal their heart? I’m ashamed to say, that I do not share this news as often as I should. I let the day to day hustle and bustle control my thoughts so much of the time. If only our minds were more focused on the peace, hope, and truth that rings in our ears this time of year. Perhaps, then we would truly have this good news on our lips more readily and willingly.
So my challenge to you this Christmas, is the same challenge I have for myself. Remember. Remember why He came by studying not only His arrival, but His entire focus- His entire life- after that. Then, let this good news comfort your heart and motivate you to tell others, not only at this time of year but every day of the year! Let’s share this good news in a world that is in desperate need of it.