“But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.” (Isaiah 9:1-7 ESV)
Christmas comes, commemorating the birth of Christ through whom God’s plan of redemption for humanity would be revealed. The prophet Isaiah shows such clear insight into Christ’s mission and achievements, one could be forgiven for thinking this passage came from the New Testament! Yet, perhaps we only view this with the clarity of hindsight. After all, the Jewish people of Jesus’ day were familiar with Isaiah. They had religious scholars who studied the Old Testament Scriptures just as we do. Yet, when Jesus came, most of them missed Him entirely. They were looking for an earthly king, with an earthly kingdom, dispensing earthly rewards. Jesus’ true meaning and gifts were hidden from them. They only desired what they could see and touch. How about us?
We know Jesus’ primary fight was against spiritual foes, for a spiritual victory, for His spiritual kingdom. Despite this knowledge we are just as concerned with material concerns as the crowds Jesus spoke to. We seldom give thought to hostile spiritual forces and the means they use to negatively influence us. Jesus won the victory, but are we are blindly wondering back into hostile territory due to our lack of discernment? Similarly, we judge our blessedness by whether we are healthy, wealthy, and happy. In other words, we decide how close we are to God, by how much we have… of what we told God we rejected… to pursue Him. Does that make sense? Imagine an alcoholic husband saying to his wife, “Honey, I love you so much I gave up the drink to for you…now, why didn’t you bring me a beer?” That is essentially where most of us are.
Two thousand years later and Jesus’ message is still a stumbling block. We can’t see past the tip of our nose. Meanwhile, what Christ has accomplished is far bigger than what we can imagine. Our concerns should no longer be those of this world for “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) It may not seem good or pleasant to us, but God will use it according to His purpose. Therefore, let us cast our eyes on the new horizon God has for us. Please, use this Christmas season to refocus, care for your soul, and set your mind on spiritual matters.