as I watched A Charlie Brown Christmas and Charlie Brown and Linus go search for the “perfect tree” for their homespun Christmas play, I couldn’t help but think about Jesus and Isaiah 53. the lights, the glitz, the pizazz is all pointing to those shiny, colorful, aluminum trees, and there in the midst of it all, is this little, undesirable, unattractive Christmas tree. perhaps Charlie Brown is beginning to get the real meaning of Christmas. and so does the prophet Isaiah as he heralds the coming of the Suffering Servant…
He has no stately form or majesty that we should be attracted to Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised, and we did not esteem Him (Isaiah 53:2-3).
so Charlie Brown returns with that bedraggled little tree, and he is ridiculed and mercilessly mocked… and so is his tree. apparently that little tree didn’t meet the modern standards. apparently the crowd desired something much more grand.
john oswalt in his commentary on isaiah (new international commentary on the old testament) writes this:
…a baby born in the back-stable of a village inn. This would shake the Roman Empire? A man quietly coming to the great preacher of the day and asking to be baptized. This is the advent of the man who would be heralded as the Savior of the world? No, this is not what we think the arm of the Lord should look like. We were expecting a costumed drum major to lead our triumphal parade. Our eyes are caught and satisfied by superficial splendor. This man, says Isaiah, will have none of that. As a result, our eyes flicker across him in a crowd and we do not even see him. His splendor is not on the surface, and those who have no inclination to look beyond the surface will never even see him, much less pay him any attention.
two questions for you this CHRISTmas season: (1) will you miss Him as you’re looking for something else; and (2) what do you truly desire?