… I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim… And one cried to another and said; Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” (Isaiah 6:1-3) This is the God of the universe Who came to earth for you and me!
Have you ever really thought about the sacrifice that was made for your sin*? Have you ever contemplated what it might be like for you to have to pay for your own sin? Has the thought ever crossed your mind?
If we put it in today’s terms, we have no real frame of reference, but we can use the military as an example of this ultimate sacrifice. Each time a loved one enters into battle, there is an amazing sacrifice made. These special men and women, serving our country, give up the touch of each loved one for the loneliness and isolation that comes from separation. They give up face-to-face communication for the occasional, letter, verbal contact or webcam. They give up the peace of a quiet night with loved ones for the sounds of weapon fire… or worse yet… the deadly silence of the unknown. They give up the security of home and hearth for the bed-roll or the trench.
Oh, they soon “bond” with those brothers and sisters who have also left loved-ones behind, but that bond has much to do with survival as they fight a mutual enemy. A different kind of love is formed… one created out of need and loyalty and a love for “God and country.” These wonderful, brave soldiers battle the enemy of our freedom every day… on our behalf! They lay down their lives every minute that they are on the front lines for your freedom and mine!
May we never forget that!
Now, let’s go back to the original scene and try to understand what the Creator and Sustainer of this and all universes gave up for each of us…. This Creator of all things, Jesus, spent about nine months in a cramped space waiting to be born into a world that would misunderstand, mistreat and misrepresent Him. This world, made up of the men and women He created, would ignore Him, slander Him, hate Him, spit on Him, beat Him, crucify Him and try to forget Him. As His creation was doing these things, the Creator was spending every minute of every day choosing to love us, choosing to refuse the temptation to sin, choosing to stand against His enemy, choosing to listen to the voice of His Father as He healed us and loved us and taught us the Truth of God’s heart by His Word and His example. And every second He spent from the womb to the tomb, He was aware of the purpose for which He came… to do for us what we could never do for ourselves!
He stepped out of Heaven and into earth because He loved us… even while we were misunderstanding, mistreating and misrepresenting Him! Would you do that for anyone? Would you, honestly, sacrifice all that you had, knowing that your life would be constant sacrifice and your end would be death?
But Jesus saw more in the vision of His future than the sacrifice and death! He had the God-given vision of life-after-death, victory for all mankind and eternal reward as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! His success meant sitting at the right hand of His Father… forever! His victory meant sharing that Kingdom with all who accepted His sacrifice for their sin… forever! But it also meant that all who accepted His sacrifice would be covered in the righteousness and holiness that He redeemed for us, so that God would no longer see the sin, but the pure and holy blood of the only Lamb that was perfect enough to restore the fellowship with the Father that had been broken by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Jesus was that Lamb! The added bonus is that God no longer remembers our sin AND He showers us with all the blessings He created in the sinless Garden of Eden, before the choice to disobey was made.
God is full of Grace… His undeserved favor! He blessed us, forgave us, created a plan to set us free, came to earth to do the job Himself, suffered immeasurably when He never did anything wrong, gained the victory, then gave all the presents to us! He adopted us into His Family, shared all the benefits of being a part of His Family and has already prepared a Home with Him… forever!
SO… if you think that Santa, tinsel, lights and presents are what this season is about… think again! God gave us a Gift that is beyond all others! He gave us the Gift of undeserved and unconditional love. If you haven’t already, receive it! If you’ve already received it, share it with others. God’s Gift is free. Jesus paid it all!
Make this Christmas the most joyous of all… give, or receive, the Gift of Jesus! There is no greater gift…
*The word “sin” is an archer’s term meaning “missing the mark” or the bulls-eye.