He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.Isaiah 53:3 (NASB)
I have several friends who are having a hard time getting in the mood to celebrate Christmas this year because they won’t have a loved one with them to celebrate it with. I so know what that feels like. At this season of joy, everyone is bustling around getting ready for the holidays, and they feel like they’re wrapped in a black shroud that won’t let them breathe, much less celebrate anything. Sometimes it’s even worse if the loss isn’t quite so recent, and everyone around them thinks they should “just get on with their life,” but they don’t know how because they’re so bogged down with grief.
And the grief doesn’t necessarily even have to do with death. Divorce or estrangement from the children they love, or other loved ones can be just as devastating. There’s a new commercial out that has an old man going to the extreme lengths of informing his children he’s dead just to get them to come home for Christmas. What a sad commentary on our society that this sense of desperation is actually a common phenomenon as we get older!
Isn’t it amazing to you to know that we have a God Who is well acquainted with our sorrows and our griefs? It is to me. The Christmas story isn’t just a myth about a baby in a manger. It’s Emmanuel-God with us-walking a mile in our moccasins, and much more than a mile, a whole lifetime.
In the Old Testament, we have many instances where we believe it was the pre-Incarnate Jesus Who came down and walked in a fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, or wrestled with Jacob, or talked with Abraham, etc., but this was entirely different. This time He took upon Himself the limitations of a man. He became human flesh with all its weaknesses, but without its sinful nature. He could be hurt, both physically, mentally, and emotionally. He wept when His friend Lazarus died, when His earthly father Joseph died, and He wept over the city of Jerusalem because He knew the devastation that was coming both to it and to all His people. When He sweat drops of blood in Gethsemane, the drops weren’t just because of what He was about to face, although that must have been an unbearable burden in itself, but He was agonizing for us, for all the sorrows we bear in this life.
There’s an old hymn by P. P. Bliss that we don’t sing much anymore. It goes, “Man of Sorrows what a name for the Son of God, who came ruined sinners to reclaim; hallelujah, what a Savior!” It isn’t usually sung as a Christmas carol, but maybe it should be. The Christmas story is much more than a story about a baby in a manger. Yes, it’s a story of sorrow. But it’s also a story of triumph over that sorrow, of triumph over sin, and of triumph over the grave. Because He lives I truly can face tomorrow with joy-even in the midst of sorrow. And I can say that because I’ve done it, and I know that my friends who face sorrow now will too.
Taboo Tuesday Question of the Day: What does it thrill your soul that Jesus may have experienced while walking on this earth?