Christmas is a time for celebration. It’s a time for joy and excitement. But, the celebration and joy are set against a backdrop of great need and even sorrow. We’re excited about Jesus’ arrival, in part, because we recognize that we need Him. In fact, the more we appreciate our need for Christ, the more we can appreciate His coming.
Yesterday we lit the Prophecy Candle to remind ourselves that God had sent His prophets to prepare His people for the Messiah’s arrival. The prophets spoke to God’s people on His behalf, but they also spoke to God on behalf of His people.
The prophet Isaiah lived during a dark time in Israel’s history. Her enemies had overwhelmed her, and the people felt very discouraged. In that context Isaiah cried out to God on behalf of the Israelites.
1 Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you!
2 As when fire sets twigs ablaze and causes water to boil, come down to make your name known to your enemies and cause the nations to quake before you!
3 For when you did awesome things that we did not expect, you came down, and the mountains trembled before you.
4 Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.
5 You come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember your ways. But when we continued to sin against them, you were angry. How then can we be saved?
6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
7 No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us and have given us over to our sins.
8 Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.
9 Do not be angry beyond measure, Lord; do not remember our sins forever. Oh, look on us, we pray, for we are all your people.
Isaiah 64:1-9 (NIV)
God’s people were crying out to Him, asking Him to rescue them from their enemies. They wanted an invasion! They recognized that their plight was their own fault, but that didn’t stop them from pleading with God for help. They knew that their only hope was for Him to intervene on their behalf, which He did. God invaded the world.
At Christmas we celebrate that invasion. Does that sound a bit strange? We don’t normally think of Christmas as an invasion, but we could. God became a man and entered our world. Heaven invaded earth. God embarked on a cosmic rescue mission on behalf of His people.
God invaded the world in the form of a little baby named Jesus; and since then, the world has never been the same.
Reflection and Discussion
- How do you respond to the idea that Christmas is an invasion?
- Do you feel the same sense of need that the Israelites felt when they cried out for God to invade? How is it similar? How does it differ?
The ancient Israelites cried out to You, asking You to invade, to rescue them. They were eager for You to act. We’re glad You did, not only for their sakes but also for ours. Thank You for being a God who hears and answers the prayers of Your people.