You Came!

Bethlehemstar

Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has come!  Luke 1:68

He didn’t leave us here alone. He came!

A long-awaited father returns from war. A surprise guest makes it in for a special performance. A far-away grandparent travels in for a holiday. You came!

When we were scheduled to deliver our first-born daughter, we had this romantic idea that we wanted to do the whole birthing process by ourselves. Our mothers had both come in town, but we had politely asked them to stay home until the baby had come and we were ready for guests.

We did pretty well- for a while. But then the baby went into to distress, and I was really struggling to push through to deliver her. The doctor told us we would need to do an emergency C-section. As a first-time mom, I was scared to death! I remember tears streaming down my cheeks as I laid there with all the tubes and monitors on me, contractions still coming, completely frightened. (I’m guessing my husband was as afraid as I was in that moment too). Then, by God’s moving alone (since this was before cell phones), the door to our room swung open, and my mom walked in. She and my mother-in-law had decided to sneak on down to the hospital against our wishes, but what a saving grace they were for both of us.

I remember the rush of emotions when my mom appeared. All my fears released, and so did a greater flow of tears. I was relieved that we didn’t have to do this alone. I was comforted by her presence. Oh, thank God, you came!

The angel told Joseph to name the son Mary would bear Jesus, “because He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21). He came as a Savior- on a rescue mission to save the people He loved from the pain and fear of their sins. He knew they couldn’t do it on their own- as much as they may have thought they could. For years, the people had tried. Then, “when the fullness of time appeared,” He came!

At the beginning of His ministry, Jesus proclaimed prophecy from Isaiah, which put forth the true purpose of His coming.

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.  Luke 4:18-19

He came to preach good news to the poor. Good news brings hope. And hope pulls the hurting forward one small step at a time. “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.” (Isaiah 9:2).

He came to proclaim freedom for the prisoners. Imagine the cold, dark, lonely, harsh conditions of an ancient prison. Imagine many that exist today, where captives are held by religious and political conflict. And then imagine the rush of a rescue mission making it in to set the captive free. Scripture tells us we were enslaved to our sin, held captive by our shame and fears, our pride and our hurts. But then our Rescuer, the promised Redeemer, made it in to set us free. He came!

He came to proclaim recovery of sight for the blind. I’ve been blessed with good vision, but my middle-aged eyes are beginning to fail at close distances- and it is really quite frustrating. I can’t imagine the frustrations and fears of total blindness. As my reading glasses bring clarity, surely the recovery of sight for the blind brings immeasurable healing and freedom and direction. We were blind in our sin- and He came with recovery. I believe some of the best clarity He brings is a greater glimpse of all that He is as Redeemer, and Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

He came to release the oppressed. One of the dictionary definitions of “oppressed” is “to make someone feel sad or worried for a long period of time.” God’s people had surely been sad and worried for the long period of time when He was silent. It’s hard to hold on to hope when the waiting goes on and on, without an end in sight. But Jesus came to release that waiting and renew the hope. The souls of the released leap into their restored freedom.

The sun of righteousness will rise with healing in His wings, and you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.  Malachi 4:2

He came to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. The angel and the great company of the heavenly host proclaimed to the shepherds,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace to men, on whom His favor rests.  Luke 2:14

As I taught first graders this week, the word “favor” makes me think of “favorite.” The favor of God rests on us- His favorite children- because His Son has come to make us His own. He is due all the glory in heaven- and we are blessed with His peace here on earth. We are no longer under the curse of our sin, no longer slaves to our former selves, we have been set free in the year of the Lord’s favor.

This Christmas, may we be more aware of the lonely and dark, hurting place we were before Christ came into our lives. Not to further add shame but to greater realize the thrill of His coming.

I was alone. I was lost. I was restless to find peace on my own.

I was poor, blind and captive.  But then you came!

Oh, thank God, you came!

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