Friday, December 23, 2016

Joy To The World

“…When He was hung on the cross, he took upon Himself the curse for our wrongdoing….”Galatians 3:13a

It is Christmas week and we are full of joy about Jesus’ birth. December’s calendar gets pretty filled up for me with grandchildren’s church and school programs and piano recitals. In the midst of living in a fantasy world of decorated malls and festive songs and parades about Santa it is easy to forget the real world we live in where there are wars, sin, hostilities, and natural disasters of all sorts going on. Momentarily we like to escape into a fantasy make-believe world of festive parties when everyone is happy and extra nice to each other. 

But in the middle of it all I am brought back to the real world. I was recently having tea with a Muslim Background Believer(MBB) from an Islamic country where, if she would be in her homeland, she most likely would not be alive. Her people group does not approve of her following Jesus. In fact, if she says she wants to go to a community event then they don’t want to go to it. She feels cursed by them at times. We were discussing Isaiah 24:6, “Therefore, a curse consumes the earth and its people. They are left desolate, destroyed by fire. Few will be left alive.” She is keenly aware of what a curse looks and feels like. She stated matter of factly, “That’s like my country.” I wanted her to understand that any curse pronounced over her is broken by the shed blood of Jesus. She is free from all curses. You should have seen her face light up. That was good news. We are largely untouched by anything pertaining to curses – but some people really feel the effects. I sang the third verse of Joy To the World to her. It speaks of Jesus removing the curse of Adam and Eve’s disobedience. He took on that curse on our behalf on the cross and broke Satan’s power over us. This is what Christmas is about. I don’t even hear the word curse during Christmas season except when we sing the third verse of Joy to the World. I don’t think we can fully enter into Christmas joy until we first understand the curse we are set free from.

I have sat with a number of Muslim women during this festive season. They have spoken of curses put on them or others by jealous women who engage in witchcraft. Worse yet I listened to a woman spew out a terrible curse on someone. Muslim women(and some MBB women)live in fear of being cursed. It is very real and terrible for them. Most of us don’t know what that is all about. We know that curses have been far removed from us because of Christ. That word does not even enter our heads. We have such Good News to share at Christmas – about Jesus who came into a world where sin and curses abounded and poured forth His blessings. Joy To The World!

Dear heavenly Father, it is such a joy to be under Your blessing rather than a curse. Jesus is truly a Gift. Amen.