A Season Of Restoration and Wholeness
“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” Luke 2:29-32
I own a wristwatch that needed repair some time ago. I have taken it to be repaired at some local and, not so local jewelers who all say the same thing, which is, the watch needs to be repaired by the original manufacturer. Unfortunately, the company that manufactured the watch no longer exists and so I have a wrist ornament, a glorified bracelet that can’t perform its most basic function, which is telling time. It looks okay and wears okay, but it is fundamentally broken. Things like this bother me. When things break, I want to fix them. I want them to be whole and not broken and this wristwatch is no different.
I think my wristwatch in some sense mirrors my life. There is a fundamental brokenness to my life and the life of the world around me that makes me uncomfortable. I feel compelled to fix it, to make it better, to apply whatever skills I have, as limited as they may be to correcting what is wrong. But the reality is, no matter how hard I try, or how skillful and perceptive I may be, I seem to always fail to realize the desired outcome of restoration and wholeness. There is something about my brokenness that requires the original designer and manufacturer to accomplish the restoration process. Fortunately for me, my original designer and creator have not gone out of business.
In this season of Christmas the child Jesus is celebrated as the fulfillment of our longing for restoration and wholeness. He is identified to Joseph and Mary as the one who will “save his people from their sins”. One of the ways the Greek word “sozo”, to save, can be translated is to make whole. God has sent His one and only son into this broken world, desperate for wholeness, as the Word of hope, light and salvation. Jesus is the word of unfailing and unconditional love spoken to humanity. Jesus, fully human and fully divine, is the one who heals, restores and sets right the brokenness of my life for the sake of love. It is through Him that I am connected to the original design and designer, who loves me and knows what I need. All my attempts to set things right prove inadequate in dealing with my own brokenness and the brokenness of this world. Only as I place my life in His loving and capable hands can I experience the healing and restoration I need.
It is my tendency to continue to try to fix those things that are broken around me and at some very simple level that is appropriate. But when it comes to fixing the deeply broken and hurting world it takes someone far more capable than me. There is no earthly gift I can give or receive that will bring the healing and wholeness I long to see. All those temporal gifts will provide only a very temporary distraction to the emptiness and longing I feel.
The gifts we share at Christmas, or any other time of the year, pale in comparison to the gift of God’s own son. Whatever pleasure or diversion those earthly gifts might provide, nothing will ever adequately address or resolve my desire to be whole except the sacrificial and saving love expressed in the person of Jesus Christ.
As we continue to move closer to the celebration of Christ’s birth on December 25 may your longing for wholeness and restoration cause you to seek the loving reality of Jesus and His restoring and healing power. May your eyes be drawn to Him more than to the diversions of this world, as tempting as they might be. May you discover that you are not forgotten by your designer and creator, but loved, valued and invited to a life restoring relationship with His own son, Jesus. May you experience and share the fullness of His grace, peace and unfailing love this Christmas. Here is a song to encourage your focus and reflection this season.