Many years ago in what seems like another lifetime to me, I sold office furniture. During my first week, one of the senior sales people told me, “remember Matt ugly sells.” I wondered what he meant by that.
There was a chair on the display floor that I thought would never sell. It was UGLY at least to me. I realized what that senior sales person was talking about during that first week on the job. A married couple walked in and after seeing that ugly chair excitedly expressed, “what a beautiful chair.” The chair was already marked down with a ‘final’ price which they eagerly paid. I was happy to have the sale, but wondered about their taste.
The worth or value of anything depends on what worth or value we place on it. For me that ugly chair was not worth the asking price. For that married couple, that ugly chair was a bargain at its clearance price.
As we celebrate Christmas, part of that is celebrating the worth or value God places on us. God values us so much that he sent Jesus to be our Savior by being born as a human baby for the purpose of growing to be man to die for us on the cross. Romans 8:32 puts it this way:
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
The classic Christmas song O Holy Night has a lyric that expresses it as:
“Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth”
If we ever wonder what we are worth to God, we only need to think of Jesus leaving heaven to come as a human baby to become our Savior. As the acronym says:
My Sunday post was Christmas-Celebrating The King Who Brings Healing looking at Isaiah 61. Today’s post looks at more from Isaiah 61 and how the promised one will empower us. Verses 4 to 6 talk about the results of the healing the promised one-Jesus- brings.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. Strangers will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards. And you will be called priests of the Lord, you will be named ministers of our God.
Jesus is the King who empowers us to become much more that we could ever imagine. Everyone who comes to know Jesus as their Savior is given a role to play in his kingdom. He empowers us to rebuild ancient ruins-be involved in lives being restored.
He makes all who come to know him priests of the Lord as 1st Peter 2:9 says:
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
He makes all who come to know him ministers of God as 2 Corinthians 5:18 says:
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:
I like to put it this way. Jesus loves us so much that he died for us to be our Savior and loves us so much that he receives us the way we are. But he loves us too much to leave us the way we are. He works in our lives to help us grow and change. He brings new meaning and purpose to our lives.
There are so many ways the he empowers us to live for him and serve him. Each is given a role to play in his kingdom. That is who we are celebrating at Christmas-Jesus who heals and empowers us.
Come and see what God has done. Come and meet our Savior Jesus laying in a manger. God’s love wrapped in cloths laying in a feeding trough for animals showing us God’s ways are not our ways. Jesus left his throne in heaven to be born as a human baby in humble surroundings.
That is what we celebrate at Christmas time the miracle of the virgin birth of Jesus. We celebrate Jesus emptying himself of his glory to become our Savior as Philippians 2 says:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,
There is no Lord or King like Jesus. Jesus left heaven to be born as a human baby to become our Savior. Isaiah 61 shows the purpose of Jesus our King coming to earth. Consider these aspects- proclaim good news to the poor, bind (strengthen) the brokenhearted, freedom for captives. comfort all who mourn.
Jesus is the Lord of Lords. He is Lord of all. He has all power and is intentional about bringing healing to our souls and spirits.
The real meaning of Christmas is Jesus leaving his throne in heaven to become a human baby to become our Savior and bring healing to our lives. He has promised to always be with us. The King has come and he wants to bring healing to our lives if we will receive him.
December is here and bring on winter. I am ready for snow, I want to see what it is like to drive in the snow in my new vehicle that is a SUV. I am ready for snow days off from school, so I can stay home and watch movies.
December is here and goodbye to November. I do not want to go through a month like last month again. I had bronchitis most of the month and then there was that short hospital stay.
December is here and bring on Christmas Break. I am so looking forward to having a few weeks with nothing to do except meet with refugee/immigrant friends and do some writing.
December is here and hopefully it brings opportunities to share Jesus with my refugee/immigrant friends, The best part of Christmas for me is the way it opens opportunities to share Jesus with friends from other cultures who are curious about Christianity.
December is here. Are you ready for winter, Christmas, and a new month?
It feels like I blinked and suddenly it is almost Christmas. After spending most of November having bronchitis, and now feeling healthy, tomorrow will be December 1st- as in twenty four days until Christmas. It is not an issue of shopping or decorating for me.
Shopping for me takes a few minutes on Amazon ordering things to be delivered. I never decorate or have a Christmas tree. So for me it is not about the trappings of the holiday.
What I was not ready for was the focus on celebrating the birth of Jesus. I have never enjoyed the holiday season, but love celebrating the birth of our Savior through writing in my blog, church services, and my prayer time. Inviting my refugee/immigrant friends to Christmas Eve service has always been a highlight for me.
This time of year I seek to be intentional about keeping my focus on celebrating Jesus not the holiday. Focusing on the holiday and its empty promises without focusing on Jesus can lead to depression and other problems. I think of the lyric of the song Have Yourself A Merry Christmas- “next year all of our troubles will be out of sight.” Focusing on the holiday as some magical time of year leads to problems.
Focusing on Jesus and why he was born leads to experiencing God in our lives. Focusing on Jesus is realistic especially when I think of what Jesus said in John 16:33:
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Jesus never made empty promises. He was very clear that this life will be problematic. He was also very clear that he will always be with those who believe in him, so we never face life’s problems alone.
So for me when I say it feels like I blinked and its Christmas time, what I am talking about is that after fighting bronchitis for most of November, suddenly it’s time to focus on celebrating the birth of Jesus and all that means.
Are you ready to celebrate the birth of our Savior?
Thanksgiving has come and gone already. It feels like it zipped on past me quickly. It was nice to spend time with friends last night sharing friendship and delicious food. But it is over now. The rest of the world will be full speed ahead to Christmas, but I am not ready for it. I do not mean about shopping. That is a five minute thing for me on Amazon.
I wonder how many crazy people will wait outside in the cold to be the first ones in the stores for shopping. How many will be sane and do it all online like me. 🙂
I feel like calling this year My Chronic Christmas as in chronic illness.. I have a follow up appointment with my GP next week to follow up on my recent hospital stay. I have a rheumatology appointment on Dec. 21st and a follow up appointment with the cardiologist on the 23rd. I also have a MRI sometime before the rheumatology appointment.
So that is four medical things before Christmas. UGH.
The one good thing about Christmas, the best thing, is that it is a reminder that Jesus left heaven to be born as a human baby, so he could be Immanuel-God With Us. I am grateful Jesus is with me at medical appointments.
Are you ready for the whole Christmas holiday thing?