I spent yesterday running errands for the church, visiting a friend in the hospital, running too and fro and fro and too, and then rushed into the church for Wednesday night youth group. I listened to preaching as my tires rolled merrily down the highway, and spent a little time just listening to the tires roll. I just enjoyed being away from the hustle, bustle of life and tried to make sense of how Christmas gets so messed up, even when you don’t want it to. My focus gets off kilter as I attempt to wrap Christmas up and tie it with a bow, wanting to make someone’s season bright. Yes, I know that’s not what Christmas is about, please don’t judge me… or anyone else for that matter. But for this moment in time, while it’s on our heart let’s reconsider Christmas and shift our way of thinking about the meaning of Christmas…
Jesus said in Luke 4:18-19
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
He’d spoken in the synagogue before that day, but that day His words were about to shift that city’s way of thinking, and mine today. We know that Christmas is more than the cradle, we know that that is only where the story began. It ended at the cross with God’s final, one time gift which covered the sins of all who would believe on Him. But between the cradle and the cross God sat an example of everyday Christmas that we miss. He didn’t come so we’d have a nice story to tell, He came so we’d have a nice story to live out.
Prior to the Savior’s birth God had been silent for 400 years. I panic when I don’t hear from God for a day or two, imagine 400 years! No miracles were happening, no “thus saith the Lord messages.” Just silence. I’d venture a guess that many clung to the miracles of old and told the stories again and again to remind themselves of what God had done for them in the past. They’d tell the next generation and would tell them of the promised Messiah. Perhaps it was the darkest of age because the light of hope could barely be seen. By the time the Christmas story began Roman rule governed the land. Israel was in bondage not only physically but spiritually as well. An oppressed people. And then came Jesus that day in the temple…
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me – He came with the power of God. He’d been tempted by Satan who no doubt stomped off in defeat, figuring He could sell ice to the Eskimos but couldn’t convince Jesus of anything. Jesus was God. He knew Satan’s game plan from the beginning.
He came to preach the gospel to the poor – Not the poor in finance, but the poor in spirit. In their oppressed state of life they needed hope and so do we. Religion is a repetitive action, Christ was about to kick religion out of the church and bring in the relationship.
He came to heal the brokenhearted. Tell me of a better Christmas gift than a mended heart? The world is filled with heartbreak. Some of it over the silliest of things, and some of it is gut-wrenching. But Jesus is the answer to all. In these uncertain days for which we live, we should be looking for opportunities to share the gift of Christ to broken hearted people.
He came to deliver the captives. I feel somewhat delivered myself this Christmas. As I was out and about yesterday I was wished a “Merry Christmas” by numerous businesses in West Virginia and Ohio. Glory to God!!!! I’ve missed that. We’ve been held captive in our own country for the past eight years when it came to Christian expression. The world didn’t want it. But God created the world and He has created us an opportunity. Wish someone Merry Christmas!
He gave sight to the blind. Not just physically but spiritually. This Christmas we have the opportunity to open the eyes of the blind by sharing the gospel of Christ. The angel which shared the glad tidings of great joy in Luke 2:10 said it was for all people. But the angel went back to Heaven, now it’s our turn to spread those good tidings!
He came to set at liberty those who are bruised. Tears threaten my eyes when I think about those hurting while I have a warm house and a family who loves me. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the holidays and forget the purpose of Christianity. Christianity doesn’t begin or end on December 25. It’s a 365 day of the year task that we’ve been given until Jesus returns. It’s our job to meet a need, mend the broken, and most of all mention the Savior. We’re failing miserably as a church… our grade will improve when we began doing something individually.
He came to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. Perhaps this is our year to make a difference and bring more and more people into the Kingdom of God. Perhaps this is the year He’ll return. Perhaps not.
That ‘little bit more” that the Grinch found that Christmas is still being searched for by most of the world. We have it… we need to share it.