“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:1-2, KJV)
It was amazing. This was front-page material. The whole world should rejoice at such news! The King of Kings is coming! Hallelujah!
But wait, was there truly rejoicing all over the world when Jesus was born?
Israel had been the recipient of prophecies concerning the birth of the Messiah. In fact, when asked by Herod, the Bible scholars could clearly indicate where the Messiah was to be born: “‘In Bethlehem in Judea,’ they replied, ‘for this is what the prophet has written: But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.'” (Matthew 2:4-6, NIV2)
Why, then, was it only lowly shepherds and foreigners from the East who came to pay Him homage? Where were the flocks of people? Why did no one else displace themselves to honor Him? Why was it that the only other ones interested in Him were set on destroying Him? What had happened to the world?
But this was prophesied, wasn’t it? “He was in the world, the world was there through him, and yet the world didn’t even notice. He came to his own people, but they didn’t want him.” (John 1:10-11, MSG)
With all of this pure indifference and total rejection, the world truly needed a wakeup call!
Last summer, while we were in Amsterdam, we stayed in a room at a hotel that was quite tight for the three of us. Fortunately we had booked an extra-large room. Imagine if we had taken a regular room! Our room, however, had not been renovated as broadcasted on the hotel’s website. Nonetheless, we were staying in a 17th century historic building. Perhaps that helped to counter the fact that we were sleeping like sardines!
And with this thought in mind, we drifted off to sleep. Only to be woken up in the middle of the night by the phone.
Wait a minute! We hadn’t ordered a wakeup call, and especially not at 1:30 a.m.!
Strangely enough I slept right through the raucous. The desk clerk explained to my son that he wanted to make sure we were in our room (Where else would we be?). For some reason that very same desk clerk had forgotten to record in his books that we had returned from our walk the previous evening, despite the fact that we had spoken to him upon our return! Grrrrr!
None of us like wake-up calls, especially those we don’t expect. But at times a wake-up call is needed for various reasons, and it’s especially appreciated, or at least it should be, when we have been wandering away from our Heavenly Daddy.
John the Baptist was the wake-up call in Jesus’ days. Although many repented, thanks to his ministry, he found himself beheaded for his cause. Jesus’ forerunner was not welcomed, and neither was He.
Nonetheless He came, and even if there was only you to save for eternity, He would have still died. We might feel lonely for human companionship this Christmas, but we are assured that Jesus will always be at our side, loving us tenderly. Christmas after all, is not about presents, but about appreciating the One who truly loves us, the One who did the supreme sacrifice so that we could experience Him fully.
If loneliness assaults us this Christmas, let it be our wake-up call to turn to the One who came on our planet 2000 years ago. May this wake-up call help us to fully experience His love towards each one of us every day of the year.
Dring, dring . . .
Well, will you answer that phone?
(To access the entire “Christmas for the Brokenhearted” devotional series, please click here.)