Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmastime is here

2"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned..."  (Isaiah 9:2)

Christmas means many things to many people.  Gifts, lights, decorations, trees, family, hot chocolate, time off school, parties and gatherings, etc.  Too often, however, it all adds up to two words; business + stress.  It would behoove us, then, to be intentional about what this season signifies.

6"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."  (Isaiah 9:6)

What if Jesus never came?  What if God didn't allow his Son to come?  What if?  We would still be walking in darkness.  We would be a people with the wrath of God laid squarely on our shoulders.  But...  

4"Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all."  (Isaiah 53:4-6)

It's a very scary thought to ponder...a life without Jesus would be a life with no hope.  Just look at those verses again and imagine the significance of Jesus.  My words seem hollow to convey the meaning of His birth.  It is the entrance of a deity into our human world.  There has never been and never will be a more significant entrance.  Not a king, but The King.  Humble, full of grace and truth.   

Take that word, iniquity - do you know what it means?

1. Gross immorality or injustice; wickedness.
2. A grossly immoral act; a sin.

That's what God laid on Him...His Son, Jesus.  He laid on Him the gross immoralities, injustices, and immoral acts of all of us - the entire human race.  All our pride, all our sin, all our selfishness, all our lust, all our gossip, all our murderous thoughts - all of it, laid squarely on Christ.  Why?
4Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you...
18"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
19See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
20The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls,
because I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to my people, my chosen,
21the people I formed for myself
that they may proclaim my praise." (Is. 43:18-21)

God formed us for Himself.  He loves us...without condition.  What did we do to earn or merit such love?  Nothing.  We did nothing.  And that's the whole point.  It's God's love and grace, not ours.

What's the point of Christmas?  It's found in words; Hope, Peace, and Love.  But ultimately I think this word is even more appropriate to the season - Salvation.  This is the reason for Christmas.  As we go through the coming weeks, let us pause often in gratitude and remember who's birthday we are celebrating.

1 comment:

Mommy Brain said...

Beautifully written! As I wade through Christmas worship planning, choir concerts, kids programs and extra is wonderful to be reminded why we celebrate and that we should give our best when we do.