Don’t get me wrong. I love Christmas. I enjoy shopping for and giving gifts to the people that I love, eating foods that I don’t give myself permission to eat during the previous months, driving around neighborhoods to view the spectacle of lights and decorations, and singing the beautiful (and fun!) songs that come around only once a year.
But for the last few Christmases I have pondered the meaning of it all and tried to find something in the season that would be particularly meaningful for me and my family. And I keep coming up short.
We go through the same routine every year: put up the tree, purchase and wrap the gifts, bake and eat the goodies, visit with friends and relatives, attend special services at church. I enjoy it all, but when December 26 rolls around, I feel a little empty inside–as if there were something more to it all, but I somehow missed it.
In my daily quiet time, I have found myself in the book of Isaiah. It happened quite naturally–I read Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, and ended up here. I’m not sure why, but for some reason I believe the Lord has me here in this Book at this moment for a reason.
And it has something to do with Christmas.
He knows my heart. He knows how I long to know Him better and experience Him more. And most of all, Jesus knows that I want to experience a little something more this Christmas. I want to get excited about something other than mistletoe and reindeer and presents under the tree.
I want to experience the wonder of His coming to earth, the miracle of it all. I want to know the mystery of the virgin birth, to feel the tingle of excitement that comes from knowing that the Lord of the universe put on flesh and made Himself known to ordinary people.
Like you. Like me. God with us. Can you feel it? Can you imagine the anticipation that Joseph and Mary must have felt, knowing and yet not knowing?
God’s people waited hundreds of years for the Messiah to come, to save them, to redeem them, to set them free.
What are you waiting for? Do you long for someone to come and redeem you from the mistakes of your past? Do you hope for someone to set you free from your pain? Are you aching with loneliness and just wishing for someone to want to be with you?
The story of Christmas is that Jesus came to be that for you. He wants to be with you, to help you, to save you.
“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool” (Isaiah 1:18, NIV).
Or maybe like me, you’re anticipating the passion of an experience with God, a holy visitation, a divine intervention that will touch something deep inside of you and draw you closer to God than you have ever been.
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths” (2:3).
“Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord” (2:5).
I have good news: Jesus is all of that and more.
He’s the long-awaited Messiah, Savior, Redeemer, Healer, Comforter, and King. That’s why we celebrate Christmas. Because it’s our story. The story of each of us in need of salvation and desiring something more out of life.
That something is Jesus. Immanuel–God. With. Us.
May this holiday season bring you face to face with the One for Whom we sing, give, and celebrate. I’m anticipating nothing less.