Born To Set Us Free!
The holidays for most of us bring a sense of joy. We feel excited and our spirits are uplifted as we anticipate friends and family gathering to meet. But there are many people who find the holidays to be extraordinarily painful. They have lost a dear loved one, they are going through a divorce, they are alone and have no one to celebrate with. For them, they're just waiting for it to be over. But there is another way to get through the holidays and it doesn't have to be that you just "grin and bare it".
Jesus was born to die. At Christmas we remember that the greatest gift that ever was given was Jesus' life for ours. This is vital to remember if you don't want to have to "white knuckle it" this Christmas season. We must learn to meditate on what His life and death actually means for us.
When you are remembering that person you are missing, when you are scared because you don't know how life will be now that you are alone and you just want Christmas to be over, remember every pain and sickness, every loss, every fear - has been redeemed on the cross. This child born to us, died for us too. He died to redeem you and me. Christmas is a reminder of your deliverance and your freedom, remember what this child was born to do!
Isaiah 53:2-5 says: "For [the Servant of God] grew up before Him like a tender plant, and like a root out of dry ground; He has no form or comeliness [royal, kingly pomp], that we should look at Him, and no beauty that we should desire Him.
He was despised and rejected and forsaken by men, a Man of sorrows and pains, and acquainted with grief and sickness; and like One from Whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we did not appreciate His worth or have any esteem for Him.
Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy].
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole."
Wherever you are today in this holiday daze, see Jesus on the cross with your distress, your sickness, your loneliness, and your pain. He bore it all on the cross, really visualize Him with it. Do you see it?
It is not yours to carry and you are not alone. But if you don't learn how to assign to Jesus what is His to take care of and you continually hold on to your pain, whatever it may be, you will not experience the peace He is longing to give you.
Like God did, we must do. We must put on Jesus our grief, our sickness and make His life an offering for our life. Isaiah 53:10 goes on to say, "Yet it was the will of the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief and made Him sick. When You and He make His life an offering for sin [and He has risen from the dead, in time to come], He shall see His [spiritual] offspring, He shall prolong His days, and the will and pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand."
My prayer for you this holiday season if you are hurting in any way, is that you would imagine right now, the cross, put on Jesus the pain, the sickness, the loneliness you are struggling with. He already took it all with Him to death, you just don't really realize it. See Him with your suffering. Now see Him raised from the dead and coming back to you with peace in His hands, take it from Him and put it in your heart. Imagine that peace flooding your heart and flowing through your body.
When the pain rises up again, remember that peace which He gave you, remember He is working on your situation. Remember His heart is to heal your heart, to give you consolation in your grief, beauty for your ashes, joy for your morning, a garment of praise for your burdened and failing spirit (Isaiah 61:3).
See these gifts in your spirit begin to take root and grow, these gifts bring freedom. These gifts are yours now and forever more, receive them!
-Christina Samyan, MSW, LCSW