The inhuman rape and murder of the Indian medical student and the senseless massacre of innocent children in the Sandy Hooks Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut are grim reminders of the depravity inherent in our human nature. The sex scandals that rocked our tiny nation this year are but a reflection of how important our sexual desires can be. But before we cast the first stone we need to recognise that there is both a saint and a devil in each one of us.
As human beings we are all living in the prisons of our fears, anger, guilt, greed, lust and pride. We are not living the life that God wants us to live but we are living in the fallen world with quiet and resigned desperation. It is so easy to miss the real message of the Advent season – a time to remember and celebrate how Jesus came into the world to help us understand our human nature and to fulfill God’s promise that we can be both human and divine and be freed from the corruption of our sinful desires. The good news is that God’s divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour (2 Peter 1:2-3).
Jesus came to fulfill the prophecy in Isaiah 61:1-2 which he proclaimed at the beginning of his ministry in Nazareth:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favour has come.” (Luke 4:18-19)
The best and most wonderful gift of God is the gift of the Holy Spirit. But like our Christmas gifts, we tend to focus on the gifts rather than the Giver. We forget that the Holy Spirit is given to us, not to ensure that we will have health and wealth, but to search our hearts and to test us - so that we can understand our anxious thoughts and recognize anything that is offensive to God in our lives (Psalm 139:23-24).
We have been set free from the prison of our egos but that does not mean everything is permissible for us. We have been set free from our sinful nature so that our divine nature may grow in and through the power of the Holy Spirit. The good news of Christmas is the revelation of the spark of divinity that is present in our humanity. We are to remember that it only takes a spark to get a fire going. Instead of allowing our tongues to set our lives on fire we can seek to make our hearts an altar for God’s fire of love so that our lives will be a living sacrifice of praise to Him.
As we enter into a brand new year, let us use God’s gift of the Holy Spirit to delight in His Word and to turn our prayers into times of joy and wonder as we rest in His unfailing love and grace. Let us seek our Lord by feeding on the written Word to develop our divine nature which Christ came to give us. Let us surrender our sinful desires to the Lord through the spirit of repentance so that we may live out the wonderful truth of Psalm 37:4 in the new year of 2013:
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
May the Lord fill our hearts with the love of God and our minds with the hope of our inheritance as children of God to that we will grow to be more humane and more divine in the New Year. (Romans 5:5, 8:23-25)