“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me, to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.” Luke 4:18-19
Christmas comes around year after year. We deck the halls. We trim the trees. We wrap our gifts. We set up the nativity. We go to church. We sing some carols. We talk about Jesus. We open our gifts. We clean up the decorations. We do it all again next year. But do we stop to ask why? Why Christmas?
I know that the obvious answer is that we celebrate Jesus coming to earth as a baby. But the reason that we celebrate Christmas is not merely the occasion of Jesus’ coming but the reason that he came. In Luke’s gospel, we find Jesus at the weekly gathering in the synagogue, where he stands to do the Scripture reading, and he finds the passage from Isaiah 61, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me...” After reading these words, he sat down and said, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). It is here, as Jesus declares himself to be the anointed one whom Isaiah had spoken of, that we find the reason of Jesus’ coming. He declares to us the purpose that he came.
Jesus came to bring good news to the poor. Jesus came to bind up the brokenhearted. Jesus came to proclaim liberty to the captives. Jesus came to recover the sight of the blind. He came to proclaim freedom to those who are oppressed.. Jesus came to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. Jesus came to associate with the outcasts, the oppressed, the poor, and the brokenhearted. God came to bring good news to those who know that they need it.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes, “The celebration of Advent is possible only to those who are troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, who look forward to something greater to come. For these, it is enough to wait in humble fear until the Holy One himself comes down to us, God in the child in the manger. God comes. The Lord Jesus comes. Christmas comes. Christians rejoice!”
So as we celebrate this Advent the reality that Christ has come, we celebrate the reason that he came. At Christmas, we celebrate the good news that God has come to meet us in our poverty, our bondage, our suffering, and our oppression, and Christ has come to proclaim that God’s favor—his unmerited grace—is here!
That’s the reason he came.
And that’s the reason we celebrate!
The Frey Life
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"May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word." Psalm 119:74