• Christmas Truths: Perfect for Everyone as We Wrap Up the Year that Was 2020

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    Surge Summary:  When one considers the fundamental meaning at the root of the Christmas celebration, it becomes evident the holiday is a perfect reminder of those truths everyone needs … particularly at the end of the trying year of 2020.

    by Neil Hubacker
    Director of Cornerstone’s Church Ambassador Network

    2020 has been an absolute rollercoaster of a year.

    On top of what’s been going on culturally and geopolitically, you may be facing some personal challenges and trials, or maybe you have experienced some painful losses this year. Whether the loss of a loved one, the collapse of a business, a pervasive sense of loneliness all too common during these times of extended lockdowns, or an increased pressure on family life from juggling the demands of remote school and work, we’ve all personally been negatively affected to some degree by the unprecedented combination of events in 2020.

    There is good news! At Christmas, we celebrate the “Word of God made flesh,” or as Matthew’s gospel indicates, citing the prophet Isaiah, we celebrate God Himself coming to dwell, or to “tabernacle” with us—Immanuel (Matthew 1:22-23).

    In the nativity, we recognize God’s selfless initiative in working to remove every barrier that prevents us from enjoying the benefits of intimate fellowship with our Creator, as per His original plan.

    But does Immanuel really have anything to say to these specific trials we are facing or the painful losses we have encountered, both nationally and personally, in 2020?

    In other words, what kind of God is Immanuel? What does the nativity story of over 2,000 years ago have to do with us American followers of Jesus in 2020, vexed as we are by the bewildering developments in our world that are impacting us so deeply?

    The prophet Isaiah, under the Holy Spirit’s divine guidance some 700 years prior to the birth of Christ, penned four different “Servant Songs” as he foresaw the coming of the Messiah.  We turn to the beginning of the first of those Servant Songs in Isaiah to answer our questions:

    Behold my servant, whom I uphold,

        my chosen, in whom my soul delights;

    I have put my Spirit upon him;

        he will bring forth justice to the nations.

    He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice,

        or make it heard in the street;

    a bruised reed he will not break,

        and a faintly burning wick he will not quench;

        he will faithfully bring forth justice.

    He will not grow faint or be discouraged

        till he has established justice in the earth;

        and the coastlands wait for his law. 

    Isaiah 42.1-4 (ESV)

    In this first Servant Song, we learn of three key facets of the Messiah’s personality and purposes. These point to Immanuel’s deep desire to meet us—individually and corporately—in our most painful moments and fearful places.

    Immanuel Is Gentle

    “A bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench” (Isaiah 42.3). Is there any more poignant image in the Scripture of the merciful heart of Jesus than this? Regardless of whether or not our pain is self-imposed or has come to us uninvited, if we but surrender to Him, He gently meets us and helps us without contempt or scorn.

    Immanuel Is Committed to Real Justice

    “I have put my Spirit upon Him; he will bring forth justice to the nations….he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow faint or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his law” (Isaiah 42.1b, 3b, 4). Immanuel is committed to establishing His merciful justice on the earth. At a time in history when justice is so easily confused with bitter vengeance, and high-handed socialism is peddled as equity, we can be confident that Christ is committed to establishing His actual justice.

    Immanuel Is Quietly Determined

    “He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street;…He will not faint or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth” (Isaiah 42.2, 4a). In contrast to the constant cacophony of cringeworthy yelling we hear on social media, Immanuel is not shouting down His enemies with snarky insults or, for that matter, even demanding to be heard. As we leave 2020 behind and look forward to 2021, we do well to take our cue from Immanuel. Just as Immanuel “set His face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9.51) in order to fulfill the Father’s purposes for Him in His crucifixion and resurrection, so we too can resolve to fulfill our God-given destinies from a place of quiet determination. When we faint or become discouraged, we can look to our Immanuel to be our strength and our song once again.

    This Christmas, let us rejoice that our God is indeed with us. In the wake of the tempestuous trials of 2020, both national and personal, and in the coming challenges sure to greet us in 2021, our Immanuel is always with us in His gentleness, His quiet determination, and in His commitment to real justice.

    Wishing you and your family a joyous Christmas and blessings in the coming New Year.

    The views here are those of the author and not necessarily Daily Surge

    Originally Posted here.

    Image: Gerd Altmann’s picture on Pixabay. 

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