Merry Christmas from the Czech Republic! As our family prepares to celebrate our first anniversary since moving to be missionaries here, we are filled with so much gratitude. Thank you, Southern Heights, for standing with us in faith, and believing God for great things in the hearts of Czech young people.
This has been a year of special celebration in the Czech Republic, as it is the 100-year anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia. During the biggest day of celebration I took my family to the square in our city of Ostrava to watch a special procession. There were brass bands, Czech scouts, and many people dressed in 1918-era clothing. It was spectacular!
But the most magnificent moment was yet to come. At the rear of the procession drove a classic black car, surrounded by legionaries on horses. The first Czechoslovak president, Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, had arrived.
Of course, it was just an actor! But the excitement in the air was palpable. I motioned over in the president’s direction for my sons to look: “There he is! He’s coming! He’s coming!” It was as if Masaryk’s return meant that all would be made right, that the divisions in this nation would cease, and he would reestablish a republic based on faith, truth, and justice.
This memory stands out in my mind this Christmas. Why? Because this is what Christ’s coming means for us. When Jesus comes, he comes to make all things right. And that is very good news!
The prophet Isaiah spoke of God’s coming as King to the exiles in Babylon, in a way that is strikingly appropriate for how we should see Christ’s arrival.
Isaiah 52:7-10 (CSB)
How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of the herald,
who proclaims peace,
who brings news of good things,
who proclaims salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
The voices of your watchmen--
they lift up their voices,
shouting for joy together;
for every eye will see
when the Lord returns to Zion.
Be joyful, rejoice together,
you ruins of Jerusalem!
For the Lord has comforted his people;
he has redeemed Jerusalem.
The Lord has displayed his holy arm
in the sight of all the nations;
all the ends of the earth will see
the salvation of our God.
Isaiah can see a messenger running across the plains (52:7) to bring a message back to ravaged Jerusalem: “Good news! Good news!” He shouts that the battle has been won, the exiles have been ransomed, and this means: “Peace! Goodness! Salvation!” But what is at the core of his message? What is the most important good news? “Your God reigns!” God has proven himself to be the rightful King. And he is coming home!
The watchmen on the walls hear this good news from a distance (52:8), and they can’t contain their excitement. This is incredible! They shout for joy, as they anticipate the return of their King to Jerusalem. The message quickly spreads to the rest of the city (52:9-10). Jerusalem had been ravaged by Babylon, left in ruins. But the King is coming. He will heal all.
When God comes as King, he comes to make all things right. And that is very good news!
God rescued his people from their captivity in Babylon, and brought them back to Jerusalem. But this was just a foretaste of the Kingdom to come. When the angel Gabriel reveals to Zechariah that he will have a son that will prepare the way for the Messiah (Luke 1:17), we are reminded of passages like the one in Isaiah 52. It comes as no surprise then, that when Zechariah prophecies about his son John, he also speaks in the language of Isaiah (Luke 1:67-79). John is like the herald, announcing that the King is near. The king is on his way home.
That is what Jesus’ birth is all about. It is about God coming back as King. It is about God proving that he has not forgotten about those lost in darkness, breaking under the yoke of oppression, evil, and sin. He comes to make his salvation known to all peoples, near and far. God has come to take up his rule, to fix what was broken, and to establish his kingdom of peace, goodness, and salvation for all.
When Jesus comes as King, he comes to make all things right. And that is very good news!
This Christmas, let us, like the inhabitants of Jerusalem, expectantly anticipate the return of our King. This simple, quiet, humble birth means the greatest revolution the world had ever seen. God has come back. And he will make all things right. What good news!
Have a blessed Christmas with your families and friends. We will be celebrating with you from afar! May this Christmas season fill you with joy because of this great news. May we also anticipate the future and final coming of our King. As Jesus said to John in Revelation: “Yes, I am coming soon.” (Revelation 22:20). Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! That really is good news!
Southern Heights Christian Church
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