“Behold!” we sang just a few short weeks ago. “Come and see!” we were told. “Joy to the world!” we cried with gusto. “Let us adore him!” we urged one another. And now it’s the middle of January. Has the holiday joy worn off a bit? I don’t know about you, but we took down our tree a few weeks ago already due to an unwelcome infestation of gnats (which was pure exoneration for my husband who wonders every year why I insist on bringing the outdoors indoors). The Christmas music is done playing on the radio, and the holiday specials on TV have been replaced with 27 new variations of American Idol. The snow has come to the Midwest with the cold following fast on its heels, and even the joy of the first snowfall has turned into so much slush under our boots. Have I totally bummed you out yet? Are you feeling a bit “meh” about the new year? How do we get that joy and excitement of Christmas to linger longer than my bug-infested tree? Here are a couple of ideas to keep the “meh” out of Messiah.
Look at his Word. It is in God’s Word that we find the Christmas story, Jesus’ humble beginnings as he entered time and space as a baby. And it is in God’s Word that we find his glory, his miracles, his resurrection from the dead—the ultimate cherry on top of all that awesomeness. We need only to look at his Word to see that there is no “meh” in our Messiah. We need only to look at what the Hebrew word Messiah means to see that he is worthy of praise and adoration all year long. The literal meaning is “anointed one,” but that still might not mean much to you if you happen to live in 2024 in an anoint-less society like I do. In the Old Testament, we see this practice of anointing for a few different groups of people: prophets, priests, and kings. It was usually done with the pouring of oil over one’s head as a symbolic act of setting that person apart for a special purpose or role. Jesus, the Christ (which is the Greek word for Messiah), fulfilled all those roles in his life and ministry. In Luke chapter 4, as Jesus was entering the public ministry, he read in front of the synagogue these words from the prophet Isaiah:
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. (61:1,2)
And then Jesus said, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). Boom. Mic drop. Jesus declared himself the anointed Son of God, the Messiah who was promised to the people, the One who was marked for the purpose of freeing the captives of sin. That’s us. We were the captives. We were the oppressed. And yet we receive the Lord’s favor. Nothing “meh” about that.
The Bible screams God’s glory, and it tells us to scream it too: “Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples!” (1 Chronicles 16:24).
Look at his world. Okay, not that world. Not the pain and pollution and poverty part. Not the world broken by sin, but the world that God made. It can be hard to look past what sinful human beings have done to God’s perfect creation, but there are still so many glimpses. There is still so much glory. One doesn’t have to study the human body to realize its complexity. One doesn’t have to be a geologist to witness the wonders and beauty of mountains and waterfalls. One doesn’t have to be an animal expert to appreciate the vast array of the creatures he made, from the seas to the rainforests. “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge” (Psalm 19:1,2).
Day after day. Night after night. Wow! We need only to look at his world and his creation to see his power, to see his glory, to see that there is no “meh” about any of it.
If you’re feeling a bit “meh” about this new year, get outside into God’s world. Nature is one place where God’s majesty and power really shine, and being out in his creation is so good for us, and not just in a “get some fresh air” motherly advice sort of way. Being in nature and seeing the complexities of what God made can point us to our Creator, but we shouldn’t stop there. The next step is getting into God’s Word, where we can read and learn about what our Creator has done for us. We get the advantage of being able to see all Scripture and its fulfillment of promises and prophecies. We see our Messiah, the Anointed One, who, beyond all comprehension, anoints us and sets us apart as his people. Wow.
Behold him! Come and see! Joy to the world! Let us adore him! Every day of the year.