By Not Known
In less than a month, we will once again sing the good old Christmas carol – "Joy to the world". For many Christians around the world, it will take much courage to sing this carol as it is. Why so?
What joy is there when ten of thousands were dead, lost, and displaced when hurricanes swept New Orleans and Texas, when earthquakes rocked India and Pakistan, then China and Taiwan, and when the air looms with bird flue? Dare Christians sing 'joy' to the offence of many and strangeness to the ears of even more this Christmas?
The good news of a messianic advent come to the Jews through the prophet Isaiah who lived and served as God's messenger in a time when Israel was slipping under the powerful Assyrian Empire (740-700B.C.). They were rebellious against God and his holy law. Isaiah pleaded for their repentance, but they refused his warning (Isaiah 6: 10). Consequently, God slammed his wrath upon them resulting in the disastrous fall of the northern kingdom to its enemy and the deportation of God's people from their homeland (722B.C.)
Isaiah however did not give up preaching God’s call upon his people to repent. In fact, his message was most hopeful and glorious in a time when death and darkness fill the air. “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder." (Isaiah 9: 2- 3) At that time, it would have sounded ridiculous and offensive to a suffering people. Isaiah risked being snubbed and labelled a false prophet. It was latter that they understood it was God himself who have given them his great promise of a Messiah who will come and deliver them from the misery of their sins. Furthermore, this message of joy and hope is to be proclaimed worldwide.
We know today that God has fulfilled his promise in his own Son – Jesus Christ. He came to save us from the misery of our sinful nature. What message of hope is this for people living in great fear and loss today? If we think that hurricanes and earthquakes are the culprits, think again. Even in the face of natural disasters, we hear of people robbing, stealing and raping fellow victims! SIN is the real darkness that wrenches our hearts with shame and anger more than ther natural disacter itself. Can we stop roclaiming the message that Jesus saves?
The great light has come into this world of darkness. The message of peace, hope and love in Jesus Christ is never more needed to be heard in our times. Let us be bold and courageous to sing the Christmas story – “Joy to the world! The Lord is come”.