Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Glory of CHRISTmas

Today, as I was driving home from work, the song "Should’ve Been Me" by Citizen Way came on the radio. I was singing along and all of a sudden it hit me, once again, how much Christ gave up for me. For us. I found myself in tears thinking of all He suffered. I mean, Christ was gruesomely tortured. What they did to Him caused His head to swell up to twice its normal size. His body was raw skin, whip lashes, chunks of skin missing, beyond recognition. He hardly looked human.
And it was not an ambiguous “they” who destroyed Him so. It was me. My sinful selfishness put every wound on His body. Every sin I ever committed, every sin I ever will commit, earned that just punishment. It was my just dessert to have inch long thorns beat into my head; chunks of flesh ripped off my body; hands and feet nailed to the harsh bark of an unforgiving cross, bleeding to death as I struggle for a full breath I can never quite gain. God turning away; refusing me because of the filth of my sins – eternal separation. This is what I deserve.
But, no.
O!!! Glorious God!!!!!!!
Jesus, You volunteered to take my proper punishment upon Your unblemished self. To suffer the degrading humiliation of becoming human in order to redeem my soul from hell. How dare I fail to remember how much You gave up for deplorable me?
I look at myself, all my faults, sins, and failures, and it is easy to say “worthless.”
Yet, You look at me and say, “Redeemably Priceless.”
Revel in the wonder of that statement for a long moment. “Redeemably Priceless.” You.
Now, ponder this:
“God Loves Me.”
Make it personal. Put your name in there. Marvel over it.
So often we take for granted what Christ did for us, what God suffered when He rejected His only Son because of our sins. Especially at Christmastime, I see evidence everywhere of people taking for granted the gift of Christ the Lord. I’m guilty of it myself.
It’s so easy to romanticize the Christmas story; to think about the sweet baby resting gently in the hay surrounded by a loving family and peaceful animals, a starry night filled with angels singing praises to God in front of simple shepherds.  We do not stop often enough to think about how much was sacrificed for Christ to come.
The King of the Universe gave up the untold glories of heaven for the stench of a tiny, mucky, filthy stable. A hole-in-the-wall place after living in heavenly mansions! He gave up needing nothing at all to become a child, unable to communicate anything except by crying.
And Mary had to change His diapers! She gave up her reputation. She almost had to give up her fiancĂ©. She probably lost all her friends and she gave up being able to experience the joy of sharing all the “firsts” of having a baby with her mother and sisters.
Joseph, by listening to the angel and obeying God had to live with the shame of everyone thinking he had dishonored his betrothed. And he had the sudden responsibility of a wife and child all at once.
The glory of the Christmas story does not lie in the setting; it resides in the beautiful fact that Mary, Joseph, and God, Himself were willing to give up everything for Love, for Agape Love. For Immanuel. God with us.
It is no wonder the angels sang. That the earth could not help but quake at His death. The Lord came. He walked among us. Never forget the glory of Christmas.
“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” — which means, “God with us.”
Matthew 1:23 (NIV)
"Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows...
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed."
Isaiah 53: 4a, 5 (NIV)
"Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he has pronounced."
Psalm 105:3, 5 (NIV)

1 comment:

  1. This is amazing. And I mean both the writing and the content. Thank you for this much-needed reminder. :-)