It doesn’t look like “Merry Christmas” out there.

Isaiah 63:7-9: I will tell of the kindnesses of the Lord, the deeds for which he is to be praised, according to all the Lord has done for us— yes, the many good things he has done for the house of Israel, according to his compassion and many kindnesses. He said, “Surely they are my people, sons who will not be false to me”; and so he became their Savior. In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.

Do you feel as if the world sings “Merry Christmas” with us? Clerks in stores must say “Happy Holidays” or risk losing their employment. Merry Christmas, huh? Everywhere we turn we see Santa! Elves! Reindeer! Movies declare how the main character saves Christmas… by saving Santa. Merry Christmas? And now that it’s December 26th, do you think anyone out there is still celebrating Christmas? No! Got to move on to the next big thing! Merry Christmas!

And it’s not just at Christmas. If you follow the news too much, like some of us do, you might get the feeling that the nation is moving against Christianity. Nativity sets taken down. Pastors told they can’t stand up for what they believe is right. And it’s not just the US! Ministers in Europe are arrested for standing up for what’s right. In China, ministers must have permits to preach. The nations are trying to squash out Jesus!

Are there any exceptions? What about God’s chosen people, Israel? The nation he chose in the Old Testament to be his own, who would eventually bring forth the Savior? “Surely they are my people, sons who will not be false to me.” Doesn’t that sound glowing?

But just two verses later, listen to what God declares: “Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit.” Even the nation that God set apart failed him and turned against him. They refused to trust God and turned away. They were not good children.

What about us? Do we make good children for God? Do we trust our Father at all times? What about those times we’ve looked at the world and despaired because everyone seems to hate Jesus? Those times that we’ve failed to trust him and instead seized our own worries and frustrations? Those times we’ve feared that the nations will finally swallow up Christianity so it is no more? Are we acting like God’s children, like ones who trust their Father?

We need the Savior that he promises here. We need to hear those words that speak of us: In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.

God knows about your distresses. He knows about your sins. He knows… and he sent you a Savior, anyway. He looked at those things worrying you, the way the world acts around you, and he laughed.

He wanted you as his child. He saw that you failed to be God’s child, so he took steps to make sure that you would become what he wanted you to become. And nothing would stand in his way – not even the world could get in his way.

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