It starts at a young age. A child reaches for a mother’s embrace. A toddler reaches for a toy or a bottle. A bright-eyed grandchild reaches for the able arms of a loving grandparent. We begin our lives reaching and it doesn’t stop there. We reach for success academically in school. We reach for acceptance from friends and piers. We reach for direction as we begin our adult lives whether through higher education or the beginning of a career.
We then confidently reach for happiness and contentment as we proceed through married lives and business endeavors hoping at some point to finally get our hands on what we have been reaching for since our birth. Mankind in fact has been reaching for centuries for things just out of our grasp but in our minds a goal worthy to be pursued. Sometimes though we finally get our hands on what we have been chasing only to find ourselves disappointed because when we hold in our hands the prize we have sought for the result we get is nothing like we had imagined.
It’s really how man’s journey away from God began. Listening to the lies and distortions of and evil influence, reaching for something he never needed. Satan’s strategy for drawing the creation away from the creator hasn’t changed much now has it? He still seeks to persuade mankind to overlook the blessings of a loving God and to reach into places that will only cause heartache and despair. That plan has stretched from the corruption of religious leaders to the undermining of the moral atmosphere of society and culture.
Maybe that’s why this time of year is so special. God has long since seen all that the world has been reaching for and in one moment of time God reached down as man was reaching up. That’s what Christmas is really about you know. The prophet Isaiah says to us, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given”. Paul tells us that, “When the fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a women, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law that we might receive the adoption of sons.” For centuries man has reached for happiness and contentment only to capture a hollow prize that never brings true satisfaction. So, God would reach down and make light accessible to all who find themselves in darkness.
Christmas is all about God himself reaching down to us. Long ago, there ruled in Persia a wise and good king. He loved his people. He wanted to know how they lived. He wanted to know about their hardships. Often he dressed in the clothes of a working man or a beggar, and went to the homes of the poor. No one whom he visited thought that he was their ruler. One time he visited a very poor man who lived in a cellar. He ate the coarse food the poor man ate. He spoke cheerful, kind words to him. Then he left. Later he visited the poor man again and disclosed his identity by saying, “I am your king!” The king thought the man would surely ask for some gift or favor, but he didn’t. Instead he said, “You left your palace and your glory to visit me in this dark, dreary place. You ate the course food I ate. You brought gladness to my heart! To others you have given your rich gifts. To me you have given yourself!” The King of glory, the Lord Jesus Christ, gave himself to you and me. The Bible calls Him, “the unspeakable gift!” The gift God gave the world was Himself wrapped in swaddling clothes.
Someone has written, “Love hath a hem of its garment that reaches the very dust. It can touch the stains in the streets and lanes, because it can, it must. It dares not rest on the mountain; it is bound to come to the vale. For it cannot find fullness of mind, until it falls on the lives that fail.” Gods plan today is the same as it always has been. To reach down to the broken life that’s reaching up so that when we may finally grasp in our hearts and minds the true joy that the creator intended for us to experience!
One of my favorite Christmas songs today was written by Suzanne Jennings, Michael Sykes and Guy Penrod and it is titled Hand of Sweet Release. The chorus really sums up what I am feeling as I write this so here it is, “There’s an end to all the waiting, there’s an answer to the who and where and why, tonight, all the years anticipating are surrendered to a tiny baby’s cry, there’s a dawn to follow darkness, there’s a face to hold the title prince of peace, what he promised he delivered, I am saved by the hand of sweet release.” If you are reaching for Him be reminded this Christmas season that he has always been reaching for you.
This writer’s opinion is their own and not the opinion of this newspaper
Tim Throckmorton is the Midwest Director of Ministry for the Family Research Council