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Monday, December 26, 2011

Celebrate Christ!

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.'” Isaiah 9:6
So, It’s the day after Christmas. The packages are unwrapped. The turkey is officially a “leftover.” And, I’m sure most of us are feeling a bit let down as the reality sets in that Christmas 2011 is over. However, if we set our hearts on the true reason for this season – there doesn’t have to be any let down at all (just a resolve to get the decorations back into the attic – sigh). 

Yesterday, my parents' pastor challenged us to celebrate Christ . . . not Christmas. This resonated with my heart as I’ve meditated on the incarnation of Christ this season probably more than I ever have. A leader in the Bible study I attend said, “The incarnation of Christ is just as important as His resurrection.” I never thought of Christ’s birth in that way. It always seemed Easter trumped Christmas and with good reason. However, if Jesus didn’t make the sacrifice to come to earth wrapped in humanity (and yet fully God), He couldn’t sacrifice Himself on the cross for our sins as the perfect Lamb of God. He had to become one of us to redeem us. It’s so hard for me to wrap my feeble mind around this reality. The Truth of Jesus’ incarnation and all the prophecy He fulfilled is a much more fantastic tale than Santa Claus, and the best part is – it’s TRUE! It’s been a joy teaching Alexa the amazing details of Christ’s birth – from the angel’s visit to both Mary and Joseph to the Magi following His star to worship the King. It’s also been a joy listening to her learn the many names of Jesus. 

I think this meditation from Augustine of Hippo (Sermon 191.1) expresses the profound mystery of Jesus’ incarnation beautifully . . . 

Man’s maker was made man,
that He, Ruler of the stars, might nurse at His mother’s breast;
that the Bread might hunger,
the Fountain thirst,
the Light sleep,
the Way be tired on its journey;
that the Truth might be accused of false witness,
the Teacher be beaten with whips,
the Foundation be suspended on wood;
that Strength might grow weak;
that the Healer might be wounded;
that Life might die.
As I’ve read this meditation, I’ve thought about who Jesus really was – not just a sweet little babe in a manger but the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And the beauty is He never changes. He remains King of Kings and Lord of Lords today!! Here are just a few of the attributes that have been running through my heart and mind this season . . .

Wonderful Counselor
Mighty God (Alexa’s favorite attribute when we sing Isaiah 9:6) 
Everlasting Father
Prince of Peace
Bread of Life
The Way, The Truth, The Life
Great High Priest
King of Kings
Perfect Love
Son of God
Son of Man
Christ the Lord
Name Above All Names
Blessed Redeemer

What attribute of Christ has meant the most to you this year? Although Christmas is over, we can celebrate Christ today and throughout 2012. He won’t disappoint!

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