The message of Christmas and Easter

Published 1:34 pm Thursday, December 24, 2015

By Myrtle Virginia Thompson

How many times have I read Isaiah and given thought to chapters 52 and 53! Today, I saw them anew as the very heart and soul of both Christmas and Easter.

The prophet offered a word of hope. That is the heart of our Christmas message.

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Jerusalem, the heart and soul of the whole of the Jewish people was about to be taken captive. They had not lived as God had told them to live, and He had removed from them His covenant of blessing.

Then, there is the word of hope: “…you will be redeemed (it means purchased, or bought back) without money… Loose yourselves from the chains around your neck… My name is continually blasphemed all day long.” Are “chains” not what we encounter today? We know we are sinners, we know there are problems, but we don’t know how to get rid of either one.

What Isaiah records next is beautiful. A Deliverer who could break the chains was about to come. This is our Christmas message.

The promise is for “peace on earth, and good will to all mankind.” That part of the promise is yet to be fulfilled, but Isaiah believed it, and so do I.

Then, “Listen…The Lord has bared His Holy Arm that all the earth may see the salvation of our God.” Isaiah 7:14 and Luke 1:23 was fulfilled. His Name is “Immanuel,” God with us. I can personally share that He has been with me ever since I put my tiny amount of faith in the mighty works of His Hands.

Isaiah then sees an intervening truth. “Behold my Servant will prosper, He will be lifted up…” (but then, prophetically) “Just as many were astonished at you, My people, so His appearance was marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men… what has been told them they will see.” The people of Jesus’ day did see it.

“What they had not heard, they will understand.” So can we, as we read and believe what God has said about Himself.

This great prophet of God saw the whole mystery of the ultimate plan of God, then wrote — I think with a voice of sadness — “Who has believed our report? … He grew up … like a tender plant, a root out of parched ground, no stately form that we should desire Him … despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief, despised….” And WE also did not esteem Him. He understood our sorrows and bore them. He was “bruised because of our sin, chastened for our well being….”

Then comes the message of Easter. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, as silent as the lambs herded together for the daily sacrifice, cut off from His people by oppression and an evil judgment. He Who had done no wrong became the Lamb led to the slaughter house, said Isaiah, and for our sins He suffered on a cross.

He in Whose mouth was no deceit, the very One the Father God chose to take our place, was put on the cross for us, treated this way because we, His own creation, were found guilty of sin, treated this way in order to bear our sin, and all because “God so loved the world!”

He died that day as a human, but He rose again as the Prince of Peace, the One Who will one day return and reign over Earth, the holy God to Whom we must all give account. That is both awesome and fearful news.

God created us for His glory. We, His special creation, given information which Peter says “the angels long to look into,” chose ignorance about what He has said.

Many may not think it is important to worship Him, but that very same God saw a sacrifice had to be made or we, like Adam and Eve, would never be able to enter the presence of God when death takes hold of us.

I am redeemed by the blood of the Lamb of God, because in Bethlehem a baby was born of a virgin. I am filled this year with the awe of what we proclaim at Christmas, CHRIST-most. Count me in.

May you be blessed with knowing the importance of a baby’s birth in Bethlehem, who grew up, died and rose again so we could be forgiven.