Good News Of Great Joy!


Photo credit: ciker, via Google

The Christmas story is ultimately a love story.

A love that has always existed in Eternity.  A blazing and glorious Divine love that entered time and space with one burning, zealous, resolute, beautiful goal: rescue.

The rescue of you and me.

When we typically think of Christmas, we think of gifts, bright lights, carols, and scrumptious food. The most wonderful time of the year. And it is all those things.

However, it is easy to lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas during all the festivities.

Christmas is radical. Revolutionary. Breathtaking in its enormous scope.

God came to this earth in human form as a baby to a world who desperately needed Him but who were:

*enemies of God
*spiritually dead
*weak
*empty
*distressed
*sorrowful
*in every kind of pain
*rebellious
*arrogant
*faithless
*heartless
*filled with every kind of unrighteousness
*callous
*hopeless
*exiles
*helpless to make things right
*dirty
*unforgiven
*estranged and alienated from all that is good
*broken beyond repair
*unredeemed
*in darkness
*wounded with no hope of healing

Yes, that list describes you and me and every other person who has ever entered this world, much as we would like to think otherwise.

We did not” see fit to acknowledge Him or consider Him worth knowing”. (Romans 1:28)

The Lord looked down from Heaven upon the children of men to see if there were any who understood…or sought after God, inquiring for and of Him…they had all gone aside, they have all together become filthy; there is none that does good or right, no, not one. —Ps. 14:3

Yet, He came.

Until we fully comprehend the sheer depth of our need and desperation for a Savior, we will never appreciate the true miracle of Christmas.

It is utterly astonishing.

The Beautiful came to the ugly.

The Creator came to the created.

The Perfect came to the utterly sin-stained and scarred.

Hope came to the hopeless.

Light came to those living in darkness.

He came to and for you

Because of and through the heart of tender mercy and lovingkindness of our God, a Light from on high  will dawn upon us and visit us to shine upon and give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death , to direct and guide our feet in a straight line into the way of peace. —Luke 1:78-79 (Amplified).

Don’t miss that: the heart of God is full of tender mercy. It is that same tender mercy that drove Jesus to leave the perfection and beauty of Heaven to confine Himself to the womb of Mary and enter this world via a dirty and noisy barn.

Today’s nativity scenes portray a sweet and peaceful scene but I doubt it was that serene that evening. Have you ever been to a barn? It is unsanitary, crowded, smelly, and cold. Yet this is where the King of Glory made His entrance into this world. It is hard to imagine a more ignoble entrance for Jesus who:

*is the exact likeness of the unseen God (the visible representation of the invisible)
*created all things
*existed before all things
*holds all things together
*is the sum total of the Divine perfection, powers, and attributes
*has power that is immeasurable and unlimited and surpassingly great
*fills everything everywhere with Himself
*possesses unending, boundless, fathomless, incalculable, and exhaustless riches (wealth no human being could have searched out)
*embodies and personifies ALL truth —-(Colossians 1-2; Ephesians 1-3)

THIS One came with one objective: The Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost. —Luke 19:10

At the exact moment of the Fall, when man turned his back on God, “the relationship between God and man was severed. We were ripped from the heart of God.”  (Pete Briscoe).

Jesus—God in human form—came to this earth all those years ago to restore what had been so devastatingly damaged.

He came to draw us back to His heart that overflows with “love that burns like blazing fire”….for you. (Song of Songs 8:6).

That Christmas night was what the entire world was waiting for! The promise of redemption! Restoration! Renewal!

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room
And Heaven and nature sing!

And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and Heaven, and nature sing.

No more let sins and sorrows grow
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

Christmas is a time for tremendous joy and celebration! Jesus was coming to begin the process of total restoration!

while they were in Bethlehem, the time came for her to have her baby. Mary gave birth to a Son, wrapped Him in cloths and laid Him in a manger—there was no room for them to stay at the inn. 

There were some shepherds in that part of the country who were spending the night in the fields, taking care of their flocks. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone over them. They were terribly afraid, but the angel said to them, ‘Don’t be afraid! I am here with good news for you, which will bring great joy to all the people. This very day…your Savior was born—Christ the Lord! And this is what will prove it to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’

Suddenly, a great army of Heaven’s angels appeared with the angel, singing praises to God: ‘Glory to God in the highest Heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom He is pleased.’ (Luke 2:6-14).

Heaven opened on that night of all nights to declare that a new day for mankind had dawned. Salvation had come as God Himself came down to live among us.

Miracle!!!

The people walking in darkness have seen a great Light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a Light has dawned…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 9:2,6)

That is what we celebrate on December 25th.

“Christmas isn’t a gift to wrap—but a Person to unwrap.”—Ann Voskamp

We were given the Greatest Gift that could ever be given that Christmas night over 2000 years ago. HE is the Gift. The eternal, magnificent, endlessly celebrated Son of God who came to give His life so we could live.

As we all know, Jesus did not stay a baby. Thirty three years later, there was Good Friday: a bloody cross, a horrific death. Because that is why Jesus came: to bring an unholy people back into fellowship with a holy God. To right the wrong of the Fall.  To free the captive. To take the penalty we owed.

He came to us, Perfect Love veiled in human skin to live a perfect life that we were incapable of living.

We despised Him.

We rejected Him.

We killed Him.

He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces He was despised and we held Him in low esteem. Surely He took up our pain and bore our suffering…He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishments that brought us peace was upon Him and by His wounds we are healed. We 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 53:2-6

On the cross, Jesus purchased our eternal pardon. A holy God must deal with sin. Our Savior died in our place.

On the third day, He rose from the grave overcoming death once and for all. That is the best news of all, the crowning glory of the Incarnation.

The debt had been paid in full. Jesus’ divine mission had been gloriously accomplished.

And for all who humbly come and accept His free gift of salvation they celebrate Christmas knowing that they are:

*forgiven and able to freely forgive
*a new creation: the fresh and new has come!
*fully reconciled to God
*spiritually alive
*redeemed
*purified
*well-beloved
*whole
*healed
*joyful
*peaceful
*set apart for Him
*adopted into God’s family
*an heir of God
*lavished with His favor
*granted free access to God Himself
*indwelt by the very Spirit of Jesus Himself
*complete
*are provided with everything they need
*know that Heaven is their true home

Breathtaking grace!!! May we never get over it!

Because if He hadn’t come? This would have remained our lot:

At one time, you were separated (living apart) from Christ (excluded from all part in Him), utterly estranged…and you had no hope (no promise); you were in the world without God. —(Ephesians 2:12)

The horror is inconceivable.

“Were it not for the Gospel, the everythingness of Christ would remain only a distant, unreachable nothing to us.” —Tullian Tchvidjian, Jesus + Nothing = Everything (p. 77).

That is why Christmas is the most joyous of days!

Our Deliverer has come! We have been rescued!

But now, in Christ, you who were once so far away, through the blood of Christ have been brought near. —Ephesians 2:13

Joy to the world indeed!

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Devotions

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s