Deep down in the heart of every person is the wistful desire to be welcomed home as a hero. No event is filled with greater anticipation. Whether it’s a ticker-tape parade, a family reunion, a high school or college homecoming, or a special journey to spend Christmas together, there is nothing quite like home.
We like to think of home as the place where love lets us be ourselves, where pride shares our achievements, where understanding covers our faults. Even when this may not have been the case, there is an almost inexplicable desire to be home for Christmas, if only in our dreams.
We want to go home, where some things seem to remain the same as we gather year after year after year, and some things are different.
Some changes are painful, like seeing our family members growing older, getting sick and feeble, and dying. Some changes we enjoy, like watching the kids grow up and mature.
When a baby is born, we have such high hopes and dreams for the future. Mary was the mother of Jesus, the baby born in Bethlehem, whose birthday we are celebrating this Advent season. Like any modern-day mother, Mary was filled with wonder and excitement at his birth dreaming, hoping, and anticipating great potential for her baby boy.
This baby boy grew up in Nazareth, establishing his public ministry when he was nearly 30 years old. One Sabbath day, when Jesus went to the synagogue, as was his custom, he was invited to read from Scripture: Isaiah 61.1-2.
In this passage, the prophet Isaiah is foretelling the day when an anointed person, in the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord, will proclaim good news for the poor the spiritually hungry and thirsty, eager to be filled.
He will preach freedom for the prisoners those who are in bondage to sin, Satan, and self. He will provide recovery of sight to the blind captives crushed and oppressed with sin, living in Satan’s dark dungeon.
He will procure release for those oppressed by fear, slavery to man made rules, and guilt. He will proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
Then, when he was finished, Jesus announced: “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Mary’s hopes and dreams for her son are coming true as Jesus declares himself to be the anointed One, the Messiah, the Savior of the world.
Some spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. Others were furious and drove him out of town. With which group do you identify?
True liberty is discovered only when people surrender themselves to Jesus, the Messiah. This is the message Jesus read that day in the synagogue. This is the reason Jesus has come to earth and taken on his deity the form of a man. This is the reason he will suffer and die, and triumph over death through the resurrection.
In doing so, Jesus proclaimed the year of the Lord’s favor, which began over 2,000 years ago and continues to this day.
Are you spiritually hungry, eager to be filled? Are you a prisoner of sin, Satan, and your own evil desires? Are you enduring oppression in Satan’s dark dungeon? Are you living in fear, guilt, and a web of man made rules?
If so, surrender yourself to the Messiah. Hear him say, “Whoever comes to me, I will never turn away.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Come home to God through faith in his Son, Jesus Christ. This is the year of the Lord’s favor.
Truly home for Christmas 2012 what better place could there be?