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Christmastime Day Twelve

January 6, 2019
By MB Discipleship

Written by Stan Hodges

Lift Up Your Eyes

1Arise, shine, for your light has come,
    and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
    and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
    and his glory appears over you.
Nations will come to your light,
    and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

“Lift up your eyes and look about you:
    All assemble and come to you;
your sons come from afar,
    and your daughters are carried on the hip.
Then you will look and be radiant,
    your heart will throb and swell with joy;
the wealth on the seas will be brought to you,
    to you the riches of the nations will come.
Herds of camels will cover your land,
    young camels of Midian and Ephah.
And all from Sheba will come,
    bearing gold and incense
    and proclaiming the praise of the Lord.  -Isaiah 60:1-6

We live in perhaps some of the darkest times on daily display with the lack of regard for others in politics, social media, actions, and our apathy. Do our eyes, minds, and relationships gravitate toward the darker things of this world? Our Roman Coliseum of today dominates us with shock TV, violent gaming, and all extremes in relationships in our social media and movies. They captivate and dominate our focus today as the games did before. We live in a world where the little “g” gods of entertainment, comfort, and recognition all drive our schedules. It is verified by each entry on our bank statements. Our world is not so different from when Isaiah foretold of flocks of people seeking a light in the darkness.

We all know friends who yearn for accolades, companionship, purpose, fulfillment and most of all, acceptance. Temptations are dangled in front of us in our circles of friends and social media. All are part of our secular world — the darkness. It was not so different for the Jews or the lost Gentiles than for us.

Long ago, Magi or wise kings lived with all of these same desires. Yet, they were drawn to something more powerful. Our creator God is speaking to us today through Isaiah 60:4: “Lift up thine eyes round about, and see…they come to thee.” The great darkness exists today as then. Only the light of Jesus Christ can give us the ability to rise, shine, and gather for the glory of the Father. In our time of anticipation, we hear Isaiah forecast a full life of deep and meaningful relationships and contentment, which we used to call gifts of joy and peace.

If we lift our eyes above this world, we will also see those around us looking for this relationship of joy and peace. Christ followers are to pour out His light of salvation upon those who seek answers to their pain, frustration, mistakes, and poor decisions. This light is not ours to hold and store. The message of Jesus Christ cannot be kept in quarantine inside our church walls and Christian circles. We must lift our vision beyond ourselves and see those looking for the path to Christ.

John 3:1 tells us, “we should be called sons of God” for all who accept Jesus as their savior and Lord. We become the family of God. The light of Christ is where we must raise our eyes. The Magi once lifted their eyes to follow a light. I pray for the wisdom to lift my eyes, my heart, and soul just as caravans and crowds still do today. Although many do not know it, they seek joy and peace. We find this in the precious gift from God we know as our friend, and our Savior Christ Jesus, the Messiah. I pray we all lift our eyes to Him, so we can pour out the great light of Christ Jesus. He is the greatest gift.