For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6, NIV*
Jesus left the glory of heaven to be born as a human child and began the fulfillment of God’s redemption promise from Genesis.
Imagine… setting aside His rightful glory as God, submitting to the indignity of birth and infancy, to human frailty, rustic conditions and death… to redeem us. Not because He had to, but because He chose to out of love.
The world is still dark and painful. My personal prayers these days share the burden of four individuals needing work, two more grieving through the first Christmas without their husbands, one treading turbulent waters and one who needs the wholeness Jesus brings.
But if we’re open, He does bring wholeness. Hope.
We don’t have to drown in despair. Circumstances don’t get any less painful, but He came to be God with us. We don’t have to do this alone.
Somehow His grace gives us strength, His wisdom leads us, His love in our hearts warms us.
Because we trust Him, we can say “though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil…”
Christmas is a hard time for people who are hurting, because the world puts on its happy mask and avoids them. But Jesus’ birth affirms the pain. That’s why He came.
I like how Charles Dickens put it in A Christmas Carol when Bob Cratchit describes his fragile son, Tiny Tim:
“Somehow he gets thoughtful, sitting by himself so much, and thinks the strangest things you ever heard. He told me, coming home, that he hoped the people saw him in the church, because he was a cripple, and it might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day, who made lame beggars walk, and blind men see.” [You can read A Christmas Carol online at Literature.org. This quote comes from chapter 3.]
Father, how can we help but love and praise You for reaching into our mess to bring hope and healing? This Christmas season, may we celebrate Your greatest gift, may Your love flow through us to those we touch, and may the world in its turmoil somehow pause to receive its King. Thank You that someday every knee will bow and every tongue confess Him as Lord. Until then, have mercy on us all.
This week’s song is “Celebrate the Child,” by Michael Card. Let’s celebrate indeed!