Today, when Christians around the world reflect upon Christmas Day they stand in the tradition of the faithful throughout the ages who rejoiced that all blessings and mercies of eternity come together in God’s gift of the baby in the manger — Jesus Christ, the Messiah.
Prophesies of a suffering Savior and Eternal King stood side by side in biblical prophecy. As a result two emphases rule in the hearts and minds of those who worship the Messiah on Christmas: He is the King who rules forever and the babe who grew up offer the ultimate sacrifices for his people.
Isaiah Chapter 53 proclaims that a Suffering Savior would be given, who would “bear the grief” of humanity and be “pierced through for” humanity’s “transgressions.”
Isaiah 9:6-7 proclaims the Messiah’s eternal kingship, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on his shoulders … There will be no end to the increase of his government or of peace.”
The Christmas promise of mercy began in the Christian tradition when an infinite, Eternal Father miraculously altered space, time and convention to bring his son’s blessings to Earth. A virgin would bear a son by an overshadowing of God’s spirit and The Mighty God born would be both fully God and fully man.
His earthly ministry would exhibit “the radiance of God’s glory” as prophet, priest and teacher. He could “bear the burden of the world’s grief and sorrow,” turn hearts back toward God and conquer death — because his nature was that of the eternal God and co-creator of the universe. Without the incarnation as God and man, Jesus couldn’t have lived a sinless human life. His death on the cross to pay the penalty for the world’s sins would fail. A resurrection that fully conquers death would be impossible.
However, the life of the Messiah also revealed that even the faithful can miss the purpose of God’s grace and blessings of Christ’s sacrifices. The Messiah’s death would be mourned and his resurrection unexpected by his disciples. Yet, those who believed in his resurrection and confessed their sins would see mountains moved as the “author and perfecter of faith” drew them back to God.
And when the Father’s children return to him, the Messiah’s sacrifices of love provide greater power for them to love God and others. For Jesus taught that genuine repentance leads to love. And sacrificial love births love in return because, as Jesus taught, “those who are forgiven much, love much.”
Finally the future is embraced as blessings grow. The potential in life and others is part of the evidence of God’s mercy. And the future is ever present, for the Messianic prophecies will not be fully complete until the living Christ returns — at a time when “there will be no end to the increase of his government or peace” and “those who are forgiven much” will “love much” for eternity.
So today as we reflect on the gifts of the Christmas season.
We pray that the mercy and blessings of God, family and friends will flourish in your lives. May you experience the joy of peace that accompanies your own sacrifices of love and grace. And may your faith move mountains as the unbounded potential of love is unleashed in your lives and hearts.