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Christmas Island

by Skip Heitzig |
I was doing a little research online about a place called Christmas Island, and I discovered there are two islands by that name. One is in the Indian Ocean, south of Indonesia; it's only about 52 square miles. The other island by the same name is in the Pacific, just north of the equator. It's just 125 square miles, and was used as the site of an H-bomb test 50 years ago.

It occurred to me that Christmas is always an island. It's an island of hope in a world of despair. An island of love in a world of indifference. An island of peace in a world of chaos.

That's the kind of world into which Christ was born. The ruling power was the Roman Empire, a brutal military power and a pagan state that worshipped multiple gods, including its Caesar. Israel was a conquered nation under its control, and there hadn't been a prophet to speak the word of the Lord in 400 years. The nation had been awaiting its Messiah, its anointed one, for thousands of years. And when He did come, the Jews' own king sought to kill Him.

Then Jesus, the Messiah, the Redeemer, came into the world. Luke 2:7 says, "And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn." The place of His birth was humble, to say the least. It wasn't the wooden barn we usually think of, the one that forms the center of the manger scenes from our childhood Christmases. Instead, the stable was in a cave, probably thick with the smell of sheep and dung.

His coming was all about humility. God came, not to conquer or to take vengeance on His enemies. No, He came to be the suffering servant prophesied in Isaiah 53, the sacrifice for the sins we couldn't atone for. He came to be the Savior--our Savior. In the words of Isaiah 9:6, "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given...And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Almighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace!"

So come with me to "Christmas island," that refuge away from the despair and emptiness of the world. As the old carol says, "O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!" And this is the joyful message: God has come. Man has hope.

Merry Christmas!

In His strong love,

Skip Heitzig

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