In a Christmas State of Mind

Christmas State of Mind

 

Wake up.  Wipe the fog from my eyes.  Shuffle quietly to the kitchen.  Press start on the Keurig.  Splash in some Peppermint Mocha.  Wrap the afghan around my shoulders to ward of the chill in the air.  Open my Bible.

Lord, it’s busy and I don’t feel you all day long.  Please, come here now.  Sit with me a while.  Remind me of Your story.  The one we celebrate with busy and bows.  Quiet my heart with the truth of Your Word.

 

He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
 
Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
Isaiah 53:2-6
 

I read this one slowly. The Gospel can become so familiar that it no longer catches my attention.  Through the words of the prophet, the Spirit raises it up from the corner of my heart to shine bright once again.

The wonder of Christmas is not just that Jesus came, but WHY he came. The precious, holy baby came to suffer.  He came to stand in my place, to receive my punishment, to take away my sin and shame. It is just as amazing today as it was when I first believed 30 years ago.

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,
or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,
or weighed the mountains on the scales
and the hills in a balance?
Lift your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one,
and calls them each by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing.
Isaiah 40:12, 26
 
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only,
who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14
 

Jesus became one of us.  Glory took the form of common.  Majesty descended to dust.  He did this, not to receive earthly acclaim, but to deliver us from ourselves.

The very hands that measured the waters became the calloused hands of a carpenter. The arms that held the dust of the earth also held the little children that climbed in his lap to hear the secrets of heaven. The hands that marked off the breadth of the heavens were stretched out on the rough wood to receive the nails.

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.
For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressors.
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 Counselor, Mighty God
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:2, 4, & 6
 
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:28, 30
 
The Old and New Testament fit together like pieces of a puzzle. Isaiah’s words of hope fit perfectly beside the red letters of Jesus.  Jesus fulfills Isaiah’s prophesy through his life,  death, and resurrection. He invites me to come and rest in him.

 

 Jesus came so long ago to bring Life and Hope.  He came to me this morning, warming me with his story of promises fulfilled.  He put me in a Christmas state of mind.  I imagine myself bowed low at the manger singing to the Holy Child, “Amazing grace! How sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me!”

 

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