What You Really Need This Christmas (Isaiah 53:1-3)
Topic: Isaiah Passage: Isaiah 53:1–53:3
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What You Really Need this Christmas
Okay, let me take a few minutes and talk with you about a very important subject, a subject that is especially relevant during the holiday season. I want you to think very carefully with me about…socks and underwear.
Now, if you were ever a kid, or if you are a kid, then you know the connection between Christmas and “socks and underwear”. Like cold water poured on the joyful and warm heart-fires of Christmas, is opening a present and finding, not a toy, not a book, not cash or a gift card, but…socks and underwear.
I know you know what I’m talking about. We’ve all been there. And all of us were taught, it was drilled into us, how you are supposed to look and respond when Grandma gives you socks and underwear: (with a less than genuine smile) “Thank you, Grandma”.
In fact, there’s no faster ‘gift transition’ than moving on to the next present after opening a box of socks and underwear.
But have you ever thought about what grandmas know that kids do not? They know that socks and underwear might not be the gift any child wants or puts on their Christmas list, but they are what every kid needs.
So why are we thinking about this topic? We’re talking about socks and underwear because it’s a great example of how all of us are born ‘visually impaired’ when it comes to the issue of recognizing what we really need.
Listen for a moment to a prediction from the Hebrew prophet Isaiah. The book of Isaiah is filled with some classic Christmas predictions (“…the virgin shall conceive…” (7:14), “Immanuel” (7:14), “Unto us a son is given…” (9:6)), but this one is not traditionally thought of in that way. This is from Isaiah 53:1-3…
Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground…
Who is this talking about? Over 700 years before his birth, Isaiah is talking about Jesus. The rest of the chapter and the New Testament confirm this! This is the baby of Christmas growing up like a “young plant”. But the prophet goes on…
For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
The baby Jesus is usually a real cutie, isn’t he? People typically “Ooo” and “Aww” over him. But for human beings, in terms of our natural eyes, the grown-up Jesus is more like “socks and underwear”…“…no form or majesty that we should look at him…no beauty that we should desire him”.
You see, we’re more interested in things that ‘sparkle’. We’re more interested in things like touchscreens and cars and vacations; in money, in pleasure, in prestige, in power. We want to open a box and find comfort, security, happiness, and love…all on our terms.
Let me let you in on a secret. Do you know what happened to me when I got older? I began to realize what I really needed. I began to realize how much of what I wanted had nothing to do with what I really needed. And when that change took place in my mind, I began to see “socks and underwear” in a whole new light. I realized how important “socks and underwear” really are!
My prayer for you is that God, if he hasn’t done so already, has or will change your mind when it comes to HIS gift to us (which is far more important than socks and underwear!); that God will give you the eyes to see what we really need as me-centered people living in a God-centered universe; eyes to see what we really need as those who are spiritually starving, but still infatuated by the ‘plastic fruit’ of this world.
Just listen to the next two verses from Isaiah 53:
Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. (53:4, 5)
This Christmas what we really need is Jesus and the healing only He can bring. Because he died in our place, because he took the just verdict we deserved, only he can give us what we truly need: forgiveness, belonging, love, purpose, and peace with God. And the gifts that God gives last forever. Not even death can diminish them or take them away!
How can God’s gifts be yours? By faith. That’s it! What is faith? Faith is the empty hand of the heart. It is trusting or believing that Jesus was born to die, and that he died for all of our misguided wants. Why? In order to give us what we need: GOD. Above everything else, we need God.
I pray that this holiday season God would give you the inward eyes to see how good His Christmas gift really is.
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