I saw a gallery of old photos that included this happy boy:
Look down at his feet and you see why he has that joyous smile on his face as he clutches his new shoes to his chest.
According to the article, this photo was taken in Austria in 1946. With all available resources going into the Nazi’s efforts to fight World War 2, the child had probably never known a new pair of shoes in his life. Now he has some. Now he has a reason to be glad for his feet’s sake.
Feet, don’t fail me now!
The Bible talks about good looking feet and nice shoes too.
How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
“Your God reigns!” (Isaiah 52:7.)
Look, there on the mountains,
the feet of one who brings good news,
who proclaims peace! (Nahum 1:15.)
Feet are the carriers of the one bringing good news, but feet on mountains can stumble. You don’t want to stumble in the mountainous wilderness of ancient Judea. Being sure-footed is the way to go.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights. (Habakkuk 3:19.)
But what is this good news that God enables us to carry through the wilderness, over the mountain crags, and into the places where people need to hear it?
Isaiah and Nahum give an idea of the good news: peace and salvation and the kingdom of God. The faithful in Israel looked for these in their daily lives and in the Messiah to come. We know now that all of this is found in Jesus, who once visited a synagogue and was asked to speak to those gathered there.
He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:16-21.)
This is the good news we can share too: Jesus is the Savior of the world, the one who brings healing to the sick, freedom to the oppressed, rest to the weary, and peace to those who live embattled lives.
This is the good news of Christmas, and we have been given new shoes for our feet as we bring this news to others. This is what it means to have:
… feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. (Ephesians 6:15.)
Just as Nahum and Isaiah praised the feet of the one who brings good news through mountain wildernesses, and just as Habakkuk recognized that it is God who strengthens our feet and makes our footsteps firm on the mountains’ heights in this world, we are also told that it is the very gospel of Jesus that is identified with the need to be sure-footed and equipped for our journey in life.
Does God’s present – these gospel shoes that enable you to scale the heights – fill you with joy that makes you smile like that little Austrian boy clutching his new shoes to his chest? I’m glad Jesus has taken my old worn out shoes and given my feet a new pair of shoes that will never wear out.
Who knew a new pair of shoes could fill a person with that kind of joy?