“Two blind men came after [Jesus].” —Matthew 9:27
The Church repeatedly reads to us from the Bible about being blind and being healed from blindness by Jesus. Our first reaction to this may be that of the Pharisees: “You are not calling us blind, are You?” (Jn 9:40) Jesus’ response to that question is: “Yes, I’m calling you blind, blinded by sin, and I’m commanding you to repent both of blinding yourself (see Is 29:9) and of denying your spiritual blindness.”
Jesus doesn’t “beat around the bush.” He bluntly calls sin “sin” and acts like God in demanding we repent. We can react to Jesus’ candor as did the Pharisees. We can blindly try to kill the only One Who can heal blindness, or we can confess our denial, see our blindness, and cry out to Jesus: “Son of David, have pity on us!” (Mt 9:27) Then Jesus will touch our eyes, and we will be healed.
There are Christmas presents, and then there are Christmas presents. We can receive presents worth $5 or $5,000, or ones which are priceless. Healing from spiritual blindness is one of the greatest gifts a person can receive. This healing is even more valuable than a healing from physical blindness, as great as that is. Repent, open your Christmas present, and open your spiritual eyes.
Prayer: Jesus, “I want to see” (Mk 10:51).
Promise: “Out of gloom and darkness, the eyes of the blind shall see.” —Is 29:18
Praise: St. Nicholas was a saintly monk before God raised him to abbot, archbishop, and saint. He set a standard for giving gifts of generosity and freedom.
“It did not collapse; it had been solidly set on rock.” —Matthew 7:25
Will Christmas 2013 have a permanent effect on your life or will it be just a novelty that goes out with the Christmas tree? Will your Christmas be a strong city and a house built on rock? (Is 26:1) Will it be a time of in-depth relationship with the incarnate God or a tinseled tree laying in the snow, awaiting the garbage man?
If we trust in the Lord, follow His directions, and let Him give us Christmas instead of “doing it ourselves,” our Christmas will last (see Is 26:4). If we base our lives and Christmases on obedience to God’s Word, Christmas will be real (see Mt 7:24). The rains, torrents, and winds of 2014 will blow, but our relationship with the Lord, our marriages, families, and work will grow only stronger.
“The Lord is an eternal Rock” (Is 26:4). “A nation of firm purpose You keep in peace; in peace, for its trust is in You” (Is 26:3). In a disposable world, let God give you something lasting. May this Christmas be a time to begin or nurture a relationship with the Lord that will be eternal.
Prayer: Father, the Christmas presents of the past are barely memories; give me something that will last forever.
Promise: “Open up the gates to let in a nation that is just, one that keeps faith.” —Is 26:2
Praise: Maria spends her Advent in prayer and in preparing her heart for the coming of her Lord.
“Then [Jesus] directed the crowd to seat themselves on the ground.” —Matthew 15:35
Jesus is always full of surprises. Today He invites us to a Christmas picnic, of all things, a picnic on God’s holy mountain. The view is gorgeous, and the food delectable, “rich food and choice wines” (Is 25:6). The entertainment is overwhelming. First, He removes the veil so we can see and there’s nothing to separate us from each other (Is 25:7). The view from the mountain is now breathtaking. Next, Jesus destroys the web which has caught us (Is 25:7-8). Now we’re totally free, breathing in the exhilarating mountain air and leaping for joy. We wish it would never end. So Jesus destroys death forever, and it will never end (Is 25:8).
Some have just come to the picnic. They are labored and burdened, battered by the world, with tears in their eyes and pain in their hearts. Jesus gently and lovingly wipes away “the tears from all faces” and removes their reproach (Is 25:8).
The Lord has done it all. God is now all in all (1 Cor 15:28). There’s nothing left to do but rejoice in the Lord always and forever (Phil 4:4). “This is the Lord for Whom we looked; let us rejoice and be glad that He has saved us!” (Is 25:9)
Prayer: Lord, thank You for the mountain, the picnic, and for You.
Promise: “[Jesus] took the seven loaves and the fish, and after giving thanks He broke them and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. All ate until they were full.” —Mt 15:36-37
Praise: St. John of Damascus opposed heretics, making Christian enemies. God arranged for Muslim rulers to protect his life.