The reason for Christmas

God is a spiritual being and therefore, in order to understand him, we must look at him through spiritual eyes. The problem with this is that the natural condition of humans is that we are blind spiritually. To us, the spiritual world is invisible. Some people may sense that the spiritual aspect of our world exists, but for the most part, we only pay attention to what we can see with our eyes.

The author of Psalm 67 understood that for us to really know God, he would have to become visible to humans. The Psalmist wrote, “God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us…That thy way may be known upon the earth, thy saving health among all nations” (Psalm 67:1-2).

The word translated bless, bârak in Hebrew means to kneel (1288) and the word translated merciful, chânan is properly translated as to bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior (2603), so the basic meaning of the Psalmist’s statement is that of God coming down to our level in order for us to get a better look at him. That is what happened when Jesus was born.

God’s desire

An aspect of God’s character that doesn’t seem to be discussed much is his desire. God has desires, much the same way we do and his desires affect his behavior. It says in Psalm 132, “For the LORD hath chosen Zion: He hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever, here I will dwell; for I have desired it” (Psalm 132:15).

Desire is closely tied to emotion, but it is really the driving force behind our will. Desire and will are sometimes interchangeable as descriptions of what we want to do. The definitions of these words reveal things like pleasure and lust (183, 7522), so it is hard for us to connect these words with God. The difference between God’s desire and our desire is that God’s desire is always for good things because his heart is perfect.

Desires are personal and therefore, sometimes difficult to reveal. God does not have a problem revealing his desires to us because everything he wants is for our benefit. In order for us to trust him, God often tells us his desires. It is something he does to build our relationship and can be a way of gaining our affection.

Psalm 105 reveals two areas where God’s desire was communicated to the Israelites. Speaking of his covenant, it says in Psalm 105:11, “Saying, unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot for your inheritance.” And in Psalm 105:15, “He suffered no man to do them wrong, Yea, he reproved kings for their sakes; saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.”

God cares about his people and wants the to be happy. It is his desire that we love him and rely on him as a child does his father. In order for us to put our trust in God, we must understand that our desires and God’s desires are not the same, but they will never contradict each other. God approves of the desires we have that are good and will give us everything we desire that brings about a good outcome. If all we ever wanted was good, then our desires and God’s desires for us would be the same.

We all fall down

One way to know if someone is a Christian is if he gets back up after he falls down. It is God’s strength that makes it possible for Christians to rebound from adversity. David said in Psalm 68:35, “The God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people.”

Some Christians may think that falling down is a bad thing and that God should keep us from falling down, but it is from getting up after we fall down that we gain strength. Life without adversity makes us weak and unable to make progress in our journey through life. The ability to get up after we have been knocked down comes from doing it over and over again.

It is hard to imagine that God plans adversity, actually strategically places it in our pathway so that we will fall down. It seems like cruel and unusual punishment to intentionally trip us up, but it is not the falling down that God takes pleasure in, it is seeing us get up again that makes him happy.

David said, “Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive” (Psalm 68:18). Just as God led the Israelites out of Egypt, he led them into captivity. Even while David enjoyed his moments of glory, he knew there were tough times ahead for Israel. David was aware that God’s plan for his people did not stop with them conquering their enemies in the Promised Land. Their Messiah would come after they had returned from captivity.

The word David used for captivity, sh‘biy (sheb – ee´) indicates being exiled or captured (7628). The word ascended, ‘âlâh (aw – law´) means to go up. “The return from Exile, which was a journey from north to south (Palestine) is described as a ‘going up'” (5927).

Getting up after we fall down is difficult because we know we will fall down again and there is a temptation to think, I might as well stay down and avoid the bumps and bruises. What we have to remember is that our inheritance cannot be enjoyed while we are sitting on the ground. In Psalm 47, it says that we are to “Shout unto God with a voice of triumph” (Psalm 47:1). In order to do that, we have to get up.

Your heart’s desire

“For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness” (Psalm 107:9). “The Hebrew system of thought does not include the opposition of the terms ‘body’ and ‘soul’ which are really Greek and Latin in origin. The Hebrew compares/contrasts ‘the inner self’ and ‘the outer appearance’ or as viewed in a different context, ‘what one is to oneself’ as opposed to ‘what one appears to be to one’s observers'” (5315).

A common question asked of children in the United States is what do you want to be when you grow up. It is assumed that while growing up, children can engage in a process that changes or molds them into what they want to be. I don’t know of any studies that have shown how often children grow up and become what they want, but my  personal experience tells me that it rarely happens. When I was asked that question, I didn’t know what to say, but I know what I became was not what I wanted.

I think children have a tendency to dream or maybe even fantasize about what their life will be like when they are grown up. Then, when they are, they compare their dream to reality to measure their satisfaction with life. In my case, my satisfaction level was zero and that is why I decided to kill myself. The problem in my situation was that I didn’t have anything to compare reality with; I didn’t know what I wanted to be, at least I didn’t think I did.

Because God is our creator, he knows the desires of our hearts. He created us to be something and until we do become what we are meant to be, we will never be satisfied. The Psalmist said in Psalm 107:14, “He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death and break their bands in sunder.” The bands referred to here are restraints or discipline that is meant to keep you going in a certain direction, on a specific course that is not of your own choosing, such as when an animal is harnessed and forced to plow a field.

God’s goal in developing a relationship with us is to satisfy our souls, that which we are to ourselves, the inner self, with goodness. He wants to give us the desires of our hearts. “Therefore he brought down their heart with labour, they fell down, there was none to help. Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distress” (Psalm 107:12-13).