Isaiah 58?  Whatever happened to Luke and Matthew with the stories of the manger and the inn, the Wise Men, and angels with Mary and Joseph and the babe wrapped in swaddling cloths?  Wouldn’t those be more appropriate?   Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not taking any shortcuts, leaving out the best parts.  I want to dig into a different vein. Golden nuggets from a different part of the Word of God.

Isaiah 58–why Jesus came?  The ‘why’ of Christmas.  Our sin shouted our need for God right into the heavens themselves.  Verses 2-4 tell of people who claim the name of God, but who live lives filled with pride and arrogance.   Thinking themselves high-and-mighty when in reality they live in a far country, far away from God, down-and-out.  Sadly,  they don’t even realize it.

Verse 5 sheds more light on God’s complaint–His people are His, they say, but only in a superficial way.  In name only, a hint, a smidgen of the Lord.  Shallow… with a faith that evaporates at the first sign of heat.  Religious acts, and nothing more… and a lot less.  Formality that’s smoke and mirrors.

That’s why Jesus came.  To free us from that thin veneer of faith to something that permeates deep within, to the very marrow of our bones.  Ritual acts that now result in actions of caring and helping,  supporting and encouraging.  Isaiah 58: 6 and following describe an alive faith, a relationship with the Lord that reaches out to others to help as best we can.

That’s what God did for us at Christmas. He reached out to us.   He didn’t send a postcard, an annual letter or a posting on Facebook.  No, He sent His very best, His only Son.  His actions spoke louder than mere words ever could.

This Christmas let’s not only go through the motions.  Let’s welcome the Messiah!  Let’s meditate on His generous mercy given for you and me!  And let’s be motivated to be a helping hand to someone else.  Then, this will be a Merry Christmas!

Prayer:  Dear Lord, for all your gifts we thank you today.  But for Jesus, the gift at Christmas, we pause to life high His name…with a grateful heart.  In His name.  Amen.


Is this the season ‘with a song in the air’?  Instead the song has only one word, maybe two–sale, sale…buy, buy!   Christmas joy determined by the deepest discount,  the biggest holiday bonus or corporate bottom-line success.  ‘Tis the season to be selling…buying!

We as Christians are uncomfortable with this merchandizing of the Messiah.  We should be.  In Galatians 4:1  the Apostle Paul talks about the fullness of time, when God sent His Son, the promised Messiah.  Christmas…the giving of a gift from God to all the world.  A gift.  Given.  Not earned.  Not deserved.  Not anything but a gift willingly given out of the best motive of all… love.  Love without strings.  Love that can’t be repaid or even reciprocated.  Not really.

But it can be received.  As a gift.  Graciously.  Thankfully.  Humbly and possibly on our knees with our hands outstretched, reaching up to God Himself, the Giver of all good gifts.  I was looking at Galatians 4:9.  Was stuck here for a moment.  Had to reread it.  ‘But now that you have come to know God–or rather are known by God…’  Yes, when we believe in Jesus Christ and receive Him into our lives, when we decide to trust Him and throw our hats into His ring, we begin a lifelong relationship with God Himself.  That’s big, indeed!  Here’s something bigger–‘…or rather to be known by God…’  It’s one thing to know God.  That’s amazing in itself.  What really grabbed me was the thought that God had been seeking to know me.

The Lord has been on the lookout for you.  Hunting high and low, under every rock, in every crevice, over hill and vale.  Searching for, reaching out to and sacrificing everything… to know us.  To have a relationship with us.  He loves every bit of us, warts and all.  Christmas is about God’s giving all that He had and all that He cherished.  God’s gift.  His open hands, extended toward us, hoping we’ll take His… and thank Him and cherish Him because we are known and loved by Him!  Known by Him!  We are His…forever!


Prayer:  Oh Lord, thank you for the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ.  And thank you for knocking at our doors with hands wide open, giving the gift of Jesus.  Amen.