Editor's note: "A pandemic advent: the arrival of a Savior for all" is a sampling of biblical meditations composed by members of the Concordia University Ann Arbor community. It is our prayer that you will take time during the Advent season to read and reflect upon God's Word and await the coming of Jesus with newfound anticipation and zeal through the Holy Spirit.
December 21 – The worst Christmas ever
Isaiah 42:1–25, Revelation 9:1–12
The worst Christmas I ever experienced was my first one away from home. After college I was called to teach at Concordia Lutheran High School in Tomball, Texas. Packing my belongings, I left Elm Grove, Wisconsin, to serve the Lord in the Lone Star State. My school year flew by with the hectic schedule of teaching, coaching, and ministering in a small Lutheran high school. When Advent came, however, I noticed something was missing.
I was not in the Christmas spirit. Upon reflection, I realized the reason. As a young man right out of college in an apartment far from home, I had no Christmas decorations, tree, or music. It was the worst Christmas ever. Yet that realization was also convicting. Even though I knew the sayings, “Keep Christ in Christmas,” and “Jesus is the Reason for the Season,” I had been excited about everything else but the Savior’s birth.
The reading from Isaiah is about the “Servant of the Lord,” or the Messiah. Specifically, Isaiah 42:1-4 is fulfilled by Jesus in Matthew 12:17-21. Filled with the Spirit, He is merciful to us riddled with fears and doubts, treating us carefully like a tender sprout or a newly lighted candle. Christ is the true light of the world, bringing justice with Him everywhere. Even though Satan has blinded and imprisoned us spiritually, Jesus gives us sight and frees us from the bondage of sin.
Isaiah 42:8 says, I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols. This verse applies to the worst Christmas I ever had. Even though God the Father had sent His only Son to live perfectly and die sacrificially for my sins, my heart was focused on other things: decorations and music. These “idols” became more important than the Reason for the season—Christ alone, whose glory is incomparable to anything on earth. He is the great “I Am,” everlasting, unchanging, all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-present. As you prepare your heart to celebrate your Savior’s birth, reflect on what brings you joy this Advent: Christ. If you can focus on Jesus, regardless of your circumstances, it will be the best Christmas ever.
DR. BRAD ALLES is an Assistant Professor of Education and has served at Concordia since 2004
View a full schedule of “The arrival of a Savior for all” readings here.
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