On your walls, O Jerusalem,
I have set watchmen;
all the day and all the night
they shall never be silent.
You who put the LORD in remembrance,
take no rest,
and give him no rest
until he establishes Jerusalem
and makes it a praise in the earth.
The LORD has sworn by his right hand
and by his mighty arm:
“I will not again give your grain
to be food for your enemies,
and foreigners shall not drink your wine
for which you have labored;
but those who garner it shall eat it
and praise the LORD,
and those who gather it shall drink it
in the courts of my sanctuary.”
Go through, go through the gates;
prepare the way for the people;
build up, build up the highway;
clear it of stones;
lift up a signal over the peoples.
Behold, the LORD has proclaimed
to the end of the earth:
Say to the daughter of Zion,
“Behold, your salvation comes;
behold, his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.”
And they shall be called The Holy People,
The Redeemed of the LORD;
and you shall be called Sought Out,
A City Not Forsaken.
We all want to be included. The drive for belonging is so strong that FOMO (fear of missing out) is a term we’ve added to our everyday language. As people post more and more of what they do on social media, it makes us stop and wonder. Why didn’t they invite me? They seem to have so many friends. Why don’t I? Look at all the fun they are having. Why is my life so hard? Am I missing out on the best life has to offer?
God’s people in Isaiah’s time wondered the same thing. Life was tough. Enemies threatened and surrounded them. Other nations had strength, power, and wealth, something the Israelites had at one time when God seemed to be on their side. When they looked at the other nations and saw what they were lacking, “Zion said, ‘The Lord has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me’” Isaiah 49:14.
When life is hard, it’s easy to wonder if God has forgotten us. We can feel like we are missing out and start to question his goodness. God’s people, who felt abandoned by him, must have leaped for joy when He promised that they would be called the “Redeemed of the Lord,” “Sought Out,” and a “City Not Forsaken.”
This is the message of Christmas. Jesus came so that we could belong to him forever. He left heaven to enter our world and our human experience. As the sinless Son of God, he invites us to bring the burden of our sin and brokenness and lay it on him. He offers to take our sin and give us the gift of new life in exchange.
He seeks after us and longs for us to come to Him. He doesn’t want anyone to miss out on the salvation He gives. At Christmas, as we give gifts, let’s not forget that he gives us the best gift, the gift of belonging to him.
Cheryl Wunderlich is the philanthropy writer for Hope College’s Office of Philanthropy and Engagement.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.