The sounds of Christmas include giggling and excited children filled with anticipation, the crunching of tissue paper making its way to the nearest garbage bag, the whistle of wrapping paper sailing through the air, and scotch tape slowly being freed from boxes which hold the precious gift captive.
I wonder if that’s what Jesus had in mind in the passage of John 11:44, where Lazarus is raised from the grave. John writes, “Jesus said to them, ‘Take off the grave clothes and let him go.’” God’s people unwrap Lazarus from the cloths that bound him in death and confined him to the tomb. You can hear the joy in the air as the strips of linen, which bound Lazarus in the grave and isolation, are removed and he is free to pursue life and the world around him because of Jesus’ power over death. You can hear the unbelievers saying, “This is impossible,” followed by the crunching of Lazarus’ feet in the dirt walking forward from death to life. You can hear the agony of Satan and his minions as they realize the power of Christ surpasses anything they have to offer and they are powerless to stop Lazarus from leaving the tomb that traps him.
Christ’s disciples today are still invited to participate with Him in a world marred by sin. We are invited to be empowered by the Holy Spirit and help unwrap others from the conditions of sin, death, and the devil. You and I are thrilled to watch those who knew only death and the cave of sin as they walk forward into the bright light of life eternal and the relationships that God created to bring joy and community where once they knew only isolation and loneliness. The sounds of unwrapping echo from the manger to the tomb as Christ works to unwrap sinners from despair by wrapping His loving arms around us and saying, “I love you enough to die and rise for you!”
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