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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas gifts and blessings

This Christmas Eve morning, I am enjoying waking up and slowly beginning my day. As I'm lounging in bed reflecting on what stands in front of us, and as I think about the year that lies behind us, I cannot but help be filled with an overwhelming sense of awe and wonder at the glory of God and how bit by bit, it is revealed to us.

In an effort to better understand the implications of "Christmas," that is, the birth of Christ, which we celebrate this time of year, I have been looking at the Old Testament and Luke, to get a better grasp on exactly how it was that the birth of the Lord fulfilled so many hundreds of prophecies. (If you've never studied some of the prophecies Christ fulfilled, around 425 I think, I'd encourage you to do so today.)

I was looking yesterday at Christ's coming as the beginning of the new covenant, and reading in Jeremiah 31. What a BEAUTIFUL picture of the coming restoration Messiah would bring! It is this restoration - the new covenant - that was heralded the night Christ was born.

More than a baby, who would be King, Jesus Christ was God himself clothed in human flesh, come to reconcile humanity to the Holy God. Jeremiah 31:11 shows that "The Lord will ransom Jacob and redeem them from the hand of those stronger than they." Who is stronger than those who believe in the Lord, for "if God is for us, who can be against us?" The answer is that only God is stronger, as his judgment was against us as sinners.

The coming of Christ was more than the birth of a baby, it was the fulfillment of an incredible promise. We were promised death and destruction, as we have all done wrong against the Lord, who, as the perfect Judge, has to administer justice against our sin. However, He also promises that with the coming of His Son, Messiah, he would also intercede for us and stay his wrath against us, and redeem us from his own hand. What a beautiful picture! On one hand you have perfect judgment, and on the other hand, you have perfect redemption. One we deserve, the other we could never deserve or earn. One we can avoid, and one we can joyfully accept.

This Christmas season, rather than focusing on the pretty lights, or time with family, or the newest gadget we want to get, focus on this, the real meaning of Christmas: 2,000+ years ago, our promised opportunity at redemption came as the King humbled himself to become human, offered his own life and sinless nature as the perfect sacrifice for our sins, and became not only our Judge, but our Great High Priest, who lives now to intercede on our behalf.

Praise God!

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