Saturday, December 12, 2009

Beauty for Ashes

The Christmas spirit is an elusive dream for many people. Perhaps they feel isolated from family and friends—or insecure because they do not know how to select presents. Perhaps they lack funds to pay for presents—or are overwhelmed by fatigue and bills. Whatever the cause, failure to experience the dream causes anxiety and stress.

Jesus didn’t come so we could strive after elusive dreams. He came to invade hearts—to penetrate our depths—to offer a revelation or vision of Him. And He brings peace and joy.

The prophet Isaiah had much to say about the Christ-child named Jesus who grew up to bring salvation to all people. According to Isaiah, He brings, beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they [we] may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. (Is. 61:3 NKJV)

Receiving the promises recorded by Isaiah might require rethinking our Christmas plans. If we belong to Jesus, we can stop striving after the elusive dream—and let a true vision from the Spirit of Jesus touch our spirits—because the Spirit of Jesus is the true spirit of Christmas.

Of course, major changes require adjustments, but that would be a small price to pay if it means exchanging beauty for ashes!

Originally published December 12, 1986.
Picture: Commercial display, West Fargo, 2009. Photo by Solveig.

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