Have you noticed how our hearts long for things?
We long for–or crave–certain kinds of food, certain possessions, and so on…but above all, we long for things intangible.
We long for peace. Hope. Satisfaction. Joy. Love.
Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.
From the dawn of humanity, we have longed. Our story is one of yearning for something beyond ourselves.
But our sin kept us from being able to experience this hope and peace and fulfillment. We were destined to spend our lives hurting and groaning with unrest. The story of the world would’ve been an unimaginable tragedy.
God heard our groanings. He felt the relentless pull of our yearning. His love was so great for us that He orchestrated a grand plan of redemption.
Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.
He sent His Son to be our deliverer. Our perfect substitute.
He sent Jesus to die. A baby born to die, He has been called, and rightly so. Sometimes I wonder if and how He knew about that while growing up. How did He, fully human, bear the weight of knowing what His future held?
The night He prayed in the garden of Gethsemane–He trembled at it all. Yet He proceeded onward to the cross of Calvary, bearing in heart and mind you and me.
I started a tradition last year of writing every single one of my coworkers a Christmas card, designed to share the message of hope and also a personal word of encouragement. The beautiful cards I picked this year contain this message:
His destiny was the cross…
His purpose was love…
His reason was you.
This, my friends, is the message of Christmas. It is not a cute manger scene. It’s not a sugar-sweet fairytale. It’s the sobering beginning of the end. But it’s not dark. Its seriousness does not at all take away from the joy and hope of that night in Bethlehem when the Savior of mankind entered the world as a tiny baby, wrapped in human flesh.
He came to set us free–free from our fears and sins. Free from our shame and guilt. Free from the darkness that surrounds us and would devour us whole.
He came to give us rest. To be our strength, our comfort in troubling times.
He came to be the hope of a world gone without hope for far too long.
He came to deliver us, and to reign in us forever. To be the life-changing leader of our existence.
And in His coming, he became the joy of every longing heart. This, this is the peace He brings to earth. Not the peace of a world at rest, devoid of harm. No, that peace is still to come. But He brought rest to our ever-yearning hearts. He brought us satisfaction and hope in Him. This is the beauty of Christmas. And it’s something I find myself awed over anew each year.
Merry Christmas! May your Christmas this year be a celebration of the Savior who brought us peace.