What we celebrate this season didn’t just happen by chance, but the creator of all things had a plan from the beginning as to how he would redeem humanity and all of creation. We were never meant to be left in the dead of winter but were created to receive the light of Christ and bring it into all the world. You see, the God of eternity taking on the form of humanity was God’s plan for redemption from the very beginning.
John 1:1-5 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
Death thought it had won by way of a serpent, only to find out that by way of a cradle came the way for a cross — and by the way of the cross came the way for redemption. So no matter how dark the night is, the morning is coming. And whether that morning is Christmas morning, Easter morning, or tomorrow morning, the same God who upheld his promise to bring the redemption of humanity through a baby in a cradle is the same God who will uphold his promise for you today.
Genesis 3:12-15 “The man answered,“That woman, the one you gave me, gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then the Lord God asked the woman, “What have you done?” “The snake deceived me, and I ate,” the woman answered. So the Lord God said to the snake, “Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all the wild or domestic animals.You will crawl on your belly. You will be the lowest of animals as long as you live. I will make you and the woman hostile toward each other.I will make your descendants and her descendant hostile toward each other. He will crush your head, and you will bruise his heel.”
Luke 10:18-20 “Then Jesus said, “See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy. Nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”’
Waiting is hard. Whether it’s waiting on Christmas, waiting on a miracle, or waiting on your children to get in the car in the morning — we all have to wait. But what if a waiting season isn’t a wasted season? What if, when it feels like nothing is ever going to change, we don’t cave to the pressures of the enemy to doubt and worry, but instead lean into the plans that God has for our lives? Turn impatience into expectation, declaring that God has done good things — and he is working even when we don’t see it.
Psalm 13 “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.”
What if we become a generation who turns our eyes to heaven to seek the face of Jesus above all else — letting him fight our battles? Our worship is a weapon in this battle we are facing — so this Christmas season, et us fight our battles not in our own strength, but by laying worship and adoration before a King who is worthy.
Psalm 24:5-8 “He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle!”
Sin is a slippery slope, sinking sands whose stakes are high, wages steep — the required penalty for restoration of right standing being death itself. Until the sacrifice was paid-in-full by one Lamb in one moment who took on the sins of all. And now our righteousness is no longer redeemable through works or pain, toil or trial but by grace alone. Our salvation is sealed. The price paid. Grace wins.
“And he shall take from the congregation of the people of Israel two male goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering. “Aaron shall offer the bull as a sin offering for himself and shall make atonement for himself and for his house. Then he shall take the two goats and set them before the Lord at the entrance of the tent of meeting. And Aaron shall cast lots over the two goats, one lot for the Lord and the other lot for Azazel. And Aaron shall present the goat on which the lot fell for the Lord and use it as a sin offering,” Leviticus 16:5-9
There is a new covenant, a new law written not on tablets of stone but on our very hearts, brought to us not by human hands but by the divine Himself coming as a babe in a manger. Amidst a fallen world, He came. Despite our sin, He came. Into our hearts, He came. And now we are his people, his very own chosen ones, belonging to him. The invitation is open, the gate into his presence and promises thrown wide by way of a stable, even for the least of these. Follow him to Bethlehem. He will renew your mind, reclaim your soul … and remember your sins no more.
“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord.“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Jeremiah 31:31-34
The heart of God breaks for the struggles of his people. We serve a God who sees a completed story and knows that a new day is coming. Just as the old convent passed away, so will this era soon be gone, making way for an eternal communion with Christ. So take hope that there is a flawless High Priest who takes on your burdens and intercedes on your behalf.
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I willestablish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.’ In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.” Hebrews 8:8-13
Jesus was sent into the world not to condemn it, but to renew it. He was sent to bring life and clarity. So whatever you’re coming up against today, Jesus is who you can turn to. He is the strength for the weary and the counsel for the restless. Do not judge by what your eyes see, or what your ears hear, but let the spirit of the Lord rest upon you and fill you with wisdom and understanding.
“And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear.” Isaiah 11:2-3
Bethlehem was small among the clans of Judah, but through this humble city, the Savior of all cities was born. God uses the weak to lead the strong, the unexpected to confound kings. Because in the economy of God, the least will be great, the last made first. Today, you may feel small … you may question your significance, but God sees. And in his time and for his glory, what man calls weak will be made strong and what you see as hopeless will be used for his renown.
“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel,whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has given birth; then the rest of his brothers shall return to the people of Israel. And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth. And he shall be their peace. When the Assyrian comes into our land and treads in our palaces, then we will raise against him seven shepherds and eight princes of men.” Micah 5:2-5
The King is here and the wait is over! The promise is true, and the chains are broken!! Our God is the ruler of restoration and the prince of peace who has come to set ALL captives free. Hope and salvation are waiting — and now is your chance to receive.
“Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the warhorses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River[b] to the ends of the earth. As for you, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will free your prisoners from the waterless pit. Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you. I will bend Judah as I bend my bow and fill it with Ephraim. I will rouse your sons, Zion, against your sons, Greece, and make you like a warrior’s sword.” Zechariah 9:9-13
No longer are the people of God orphaned or afraid, lacking a homeland or a future, but rather, through Jesus, we have been grafted into the branch of the lineage of Christ. We belong forevermore within the very family of God — having been given eternity itself, sealed by Christ’s free gift of love.
“Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord. Therefore this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: “Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done,” declares the Lord. “I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number.I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the Lord. “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will raise up for David[a] a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteous Savior.” Jeremiah 23:1-6
We no longer have to plan and chart our own steps — worrying over pace and direction — because the Father has already shown us the way we should go. He is the one who stands beside us when we rise and guards our rest as we sleep. He has led us to a pasture abundant with refreshing waters, supplying every need of his sheep.
“I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord. I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.” ezekiel 34:14-16
We are called to be the light of the world, a city on a hill that cannot be hidden. We are called to take our faith to the world, shining brightly with the light of Jesus, which first beamed within us. A light that penetrates darkness … that illuminates the shadows … that brings dawn after midnight. Just like the angels who visited the shepherds, it is our time to go out and spread the light to those who, stumbling in blindness, so desperately need it.
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder. For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor.” Isaiah 9:2-7
Do you feel rejected, like an outcast or despised? Well, Jesus felt all of this during his time on earth. Even from his first breath as a baby, the Christmas story depicts how King Herrod was plotting against him, despising his very existence. So take courage in the fact that a perfect God came up against earthly trials of all kinds, yet OVERCAME them! And that same POWER can overcome your struggles today.
“no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the LORD.” Isaiah 54:17
He was despised and rejected by men a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one— to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the LORD.” Isaiah 53:3-6
The first Adam had to sacrifice for all his sins, but the second Adam was the sacrifice for all Through first Adam came a curse to all humanity, but through the second Adam that very curse was broken. The first Adam brought the end to life eternal … but the second Adam brought a path to life forevermore. We, as decedents of the first Adam, can now live as heirs of the second Adam because of his great gift to us.
“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:2, 7
Today God is speaking directly through his Son to his creation.We no longer have to go through religious leaders or temples, across deserts to speak through veils. Now, we have direct access to the Father. He is the one who makes us righteous, grafts us in, cleanses us from sin. There is no longer a need for a sacrifice because the once-and-for-all atonement has been paid. The Son, who was made low for our sake, is now exalted for eternity. Hallelujah!
“Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. This shows that the Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave him is greater than their names.” Hebrews 1:1-4
Under the old covenant, the Spirit of God was laid on his servants for seasons, but now under the new covenant, brought by way of Jesus, the Spirit of God now lives within all his people. Today is the day of the Lord’s favor; we have the power of heaven living within us! The same power that brought heaven to earth one Christmas morning is now living inside of us every day.
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.” Isaiah 61:1-4
No mortal man can see the face of an infallible God. But through Jesus, he became flesh and took on our form, allowing us to see and experience the power of God through Jesus. He is God-among-us, the Word as flesh dwelling in our very midst!
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” Colossians 1:15–22
It is our calling to be of one mind and spirit, stepping into the love that Christ demonstrated for us. Taking on this mindset, we can have comfort from the Spirit and encouragement from Christ himself. He has set the example; now we have the opportunity to follow.
“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:1-11
The birth of Jesus was a miraculous unfolding, divinely laid out from the beginning of time. His birth came to pass through a teenage girl who had faith in an angel and said yes to the long journey ahead. The plan of redemption came through the most unlikely of people. Our God is a God of the unexpected, and if he used Mary to mother his Son, he can use you today!
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Luke 1:26-33