The Love, Glory, and Majesty of Christ in Christmas: The Reason for the Season
As we approach the end of the month and the year, I am reminded that I had a blog post I wanted to publish prior to this one…To be honest, I have been hesitant to post to the blog because it is so personal to me and my walk with God. Fear usually comes with the territory when there is a task that needs to be carried out for God (at least for me). As I’m sure you’ve heard before, courage is not the absence of fear…we must possess the strength, the dedication, and the willingness to move forward in spite of our fears. It is a strength that we receive from someone greater than us – God. Supernatural strength. We as Christians refer to this as faith – not in what is seen, but faith in what is unseen. Faith in Jesus Christ and God’s promises. The Word says in Hebrews 11:1: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things unseen. It also says in 2 Corinthians 5:7: We walk by faith, not by sight. Furthermore, God knows more than we do what purpose our lives, our projects, our ministries, and our assignments serve – and the glory it will ultimately bring to the Kingdom. So of course I still plan to post to the blog – It really isn’t an option! However…Christmas is upon us, and I want to pause for a moment to talk about our Savior….the real reason for the season. He is certainly worthy of all glory, honor, blessing, and praise. Regardless of how you feel about the holiday, Christmas is a topic that is very personal to each and every one of us.
A couple of weeks ago on Sunday, I decided to switch things up a bit and visit a new church (I will admit that I did miss my regular church, but I knew God had a purpose for me being at this one). The church I visited was a Presbyterian church – quite different from what I was accustomed to, as I had never visited a Presbyterian church before. I love new experiences though. (I haven’t always loved new experiences, but I embrace them more now.) I thoroughly enjoyed the service and being in the presence of our Lord and Savior. What I felt while I was there was truly refreshing to my soul and my spirit. It reminded me once again of the sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ: who He was (past), who He is (present), and who He is to come (future and eternity). We often forget amidst the hustle and bustle of life – and especially during the holiday season – why we live, why we have the many blessings that we have, and who has provided us with the blessings that we enjoy. However, I make it my duty to remain in awe and in remembrance of Him and His sacrifice every chance I get. I remind myself of the Gospel practically every day, because it is the reason why I live. It is the reason why we all live.
The church I visited was in the midst of Advent of course, and they were having a special service dedicated to the “reason for the season.” It was centered around the birth of Jesus – obviously! I was able to experience the gift of song from their amazing choir; their singing was like something out of a movie…it was surreal. It was absolutely beautiful. They sang several songs and old church hymns about Christ’s birth and majesty. It blew me away; my ears were open in a completely different way. We also read and reflected as a congregation on scriptures and passages about Jesus, His arrival to earth, His mission on earth, His death and resurrection, and His reign. It was both sobering and humbling as it always is. Joy, praise, and gratefulness filled my heart as I partook in the celebration of our Savior’s birth. The Holy Spirit was definitely in our midst.
To add to that, the brothers and sisters in Christ that I fellowshipped with while there were extremely loving, joyous, and hospitable. Not that I don’t experience this normally when I worship with my brothers and sisters, but it was just different. It’s a new experience when you visit a church for the first time. I was greeted at least three times during my visit (if not more), and I felt very welcomed as a first-time visitor. At the end of the service, I had questions about a few of their programs and events, and I waited patiently to speak with a minister of their church. I was introduced to Sue. It was Sue’s normal protocol to greet the congregation after church and fellowship with them on a deeper level, and I was more than happy to wait. As I waited, I watched Sue display the pure love of Christ in a way that I hadn’t seen in a while. It was more her spirit than anything. Her spirit helped me to see Jesus and His love in action so vividly on that day. In that short amount of time, Sue had motivated me to love more fiercely…to love unconditionally…to possess the kind of love that transforms. Inspires. Exhorts. Calms. This is the kind of love that we as Christians should always possess so that it becomes clear to the world the kind of power that is at work within us. It was a joy seeing her interact with the body of Christ, and even more of a joy having the privilege of interacting with my brothers and sisters along with her.
After some time passed, she graciously offered to meet with me in her office. What happened there was a glimmer of restoration for my soul. We had a heartfelt talk about my life, about our Savior Jesus, our Father God, and some of the things that pained me during this season of my life – some of the storms that I was enduring. She spoke both from her own experiences and also from the Word of God. I can’t explain the peace that I felt speaking to her. It was as if God was right there with us – and He was. When we ended in prayer, she began thanking Jesus. When she started to speak peace and comfort to my spirit, and then referred to Jesus as the baby in the manger while she was praying, I completely lost it. I began crying uncontrollably. I have to be honest: The cry was one of those very unbecoming cries – the kind where your make-up is smeared, you have tears running down your face along with some other things running down your face…it was just…freeing. Why was I crying like this? The goodness, grace, and the mercy of God. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand the kind of emotions that come from realizing that a baby in a manger – the Messiah – sacrificed His life and died for me and all of humanity. That’s what the Holy Spirit does to you.
Of course I reflected on the experience, and on one of those days, I said to myself: How often do we refer to Jesus, our Savior, as the baby in a manger? We don’t understand the true significance of this. We always look at Jesus as the Savior who knew no sin and became a man in the flesh to redeem us from the curse of the law and all sin…and rightfully so. All of these things are true. But I don’t think I would be presumptuous in saying that many of us don’t reflect on His birth as much as we should. Not His life, mission, and ministry – but His birth. There’s something profound there when we dig deeper. We don’t usually view Him as the Messiah who was once a baby – dependent on another human being to give Him life, to feed Him, nourish Him, take care of Him…true humility, love, and sacrifice. Jesus – the Messiah who feeds and provides for us – became a baby who was dependent on others to feed Him. Jesus – the Messiah who never sleeps or slumbers – became a baby that required sleep and rest. Jesus – the Messiah who created all of human life – became a baby who would be subject to, would endure, and would eventually conquer death. Our Father and the Son of God became a baby in a manger for us. And they praised this baby, even then. They knew what He was sent on this earth to do, and that it would change the course of history as they knew it. (I encourage you to read the following scripture passages regarding His birth, His sacrifice, and our redemption in Him: Matthew 1:18-25; Matthew 2: 1-11; Luke 2:1-20; John 1:1-5, 10-13, 14, 16.)
The beauty of it all is that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. And we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14). He was born of a woman, just like you and me….so that He could conquer sin and death for you and me. How powerful is that? We love Him because He first loved us first. So rejoice. Jesus is the reason for the season. Christ is the reason for Christmas. He was born to give us a brand new start.
O come let us adore Him. As you prepare for Christmas, I want to exhort you not to just reflect on the festivities, the great food, the gifts, all of the errands you have to run to prepare, the time with family, but also reflect on the gift of life. Reflect on the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ this holiday season. Celebrate His birth. God Bless You, and Merry Christmas to you and yours! May today and every day be a reason for you to celebrate new life in Jesus.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son; that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16