The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me because God anointed me.
He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken,
Announce freedom to all captives, pardon all prisoners.
God sent me to announce the year of his grace—a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies—
and to comfort all who mourn, to care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion,
give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes, messages of joy instead of news of doom,
a praising heart instead of a languid spirit. Rename them “Oaks of Righteousness”
planted by God to display his glory. They’ll rebuild the old ruins, raise a new city out of the wreckage.
They’ll start over on the ruined cities, take the rubble left behind and make it new.
You’ll hire outsiders to herd your flocks and foreigners to work your fields,
But you’ll have the title “Priests of God,” honored as ministers of our God.
You’ll feast on the bounty of nations, you’ll bask in their glory.
Because you got a double dose of trouble and more than your share of contempt,
Your inheritance in the land will be doubled and your joy go on forever. Isaiah 61:1-7 (MSG)
The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory,
like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish. John 1:14 (MSG)
“YUCK!!” The soup was too salty. I added way too much salt. The soup smelled great. It looked good. It tasted like salt, pure salt, no other flavor was distinguishable. I asked my mom what to do. She was a great cook and usually had a way to “fix” most any culinary disaster. She told me to add 2 potatoes to the pot, let it cook a while longer and then remove the potatoes. Skeptical, I followed her directions. After about an hour, the soup tasted good. The starch in the potatoes absorbed the excess salt form the broth and my soup was saved.
Mom was a miracle-worker. The funny thing about miracles, you only need one when things are bad.
It’s a cold dark night in Bethlehem. A young girl and her new husband trudge through town looking for a place to stay. It’s more urgent than that, Mary is about to give birth. She needs to get off that donkey and settled in, soon.
Jesus is born. Immanuel; God with us. The Word. Jesus, equal to God, became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood. It’s miraculous. Humanity needed a miracle. Humankind had mucked things up, past the point of repair.
In that lowly manger bed, in the body of a little baby boy, God sent the fix. You know what that means don’t you? It means something was broken. Isaiah proclaimed it. Jesus professed it in Luke chapter 4. God sent Jesus, because there was no way humanity could fix itself. You feel it. You may be one of the poor. If you are, Jesus has good news for you! Your heart may be broken. Jesus is the ointment that can heal the brokenness. You may be bound in a literal or figurative prison. Jesus is the key to true freedom. You may be the one mourning. Jesus offers true comfort. You may be the one surrounded by the rubble and ruins of a once whole life. Jesus is the architect that can design a new life for you. Maybe all you have left is doom and ashes. Come to Jesus; you can exchange those for joy.
A miracle is only needed in the most dire of circumstances. Jesus is the miracle that can change your life.
Jesus is the embodiment of grace, God’s grace here on earth. Jesus is the grace that brings favor, comfort and celebration.
Don’t think God doesn’t understand your plight. Don’t think God doesn’t know the pain of rejection, loss or separation. Humanity’s sin drove a wedge between God and man. God’s unstoppable love caused Him to give up His own Son to provide a way of redemption. Jesus became flesh. God put on humanity, so He could rescue it, redeem it, renew it and restore it.
That is the mystery of Christmas; God’s grace to undeserving humanity. You can’t understand love like that. You don’t have to, you only need accept the greatest gift ever given.
Talk about a Christmas miracle!