12/18/13

Four Wonders at Christmas

Wonderful … it’s one of Jesus’ names (Isaiah 9:6). As we gaze upon Jesus – from His birth to His return to heaven – His whole life fills us with wonder.  In 2014, I will focus on the “wonder” missing in much of Christendom and how we can revive the wonder in our own lives.


But I want to start with the things I “wonder” over at Christmas, and specifically, four marvelous wonders of Jesus' birth (though there are many more):

(1)  The Wonder of The Father’s Choice
Jesus’ birth was intentional, to fulfill the promise to rescue fallen mankind (Genesis 3:15). The Father sent the Son “… to be the Savior of the world” (1 John 4:14). When the angel told Mary she would bear a son, a special, significant name was supplied for the child (Matthew 1:21; Luke1:32; 2:11). Jesus means “He saves.” 

The wonder of the Father’s choice is wrapped up in His nature. He is sovereign and holy, loving and merciful. Because our Creator is holy (and we are not), we need a Savior. Our Loving Father doesn’t want anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9). He sent the Son, because He loves us (John 3:16; 1 John 4:19). He came for us, and later died for us, when we were most unlovely (Romans 5:8). 

Does your heart fill with wonder that the Father in Heaven loves you so?

(2) The Wonder of the Incarnation
This was Jesus' choice. Think about what Jesus left behind when He came to earth. Pre-existent with the Father, He cooperated with the Father’s will and became a man (Philippians 2:7). He was the Word made flesh to dwell among us (John 1:14).

The “Emmanuel” is God with us (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew1:23). In Christ, God chose to identify with us in our humanity, so He could lift us from the bondage of sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). 

Imagine your life, if Jesus had not come. Allow the Lord's presence within you to spark new wonder in your heart.

(3) The Wonder of the Virgin Birth
This involves Mary's choice. She was willing to surrender her own will to God's will in order to fulfill His purposes.

The supernatural birth of Jesus should fill us with the same kind of wonder many reserve for Easter.
Consider the miracle of the Virgin Birth—the coming of the holy Jesus, born of the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 7:14; Luke 1:26-38). 

Although the deity of this newborn baby was hidden from most of the world, there were clear signs to reveal the mystery of His birth—the angels’ proclamation to the shepherds about where they would discover the “baby in a manger,” and their awe and delight when they found Jesus (Luke2:8-12, 15-18); the worship of the Magi (Matthew 2:1-12); and the witness of the multitude of angels singing “Glory to God” (Luke 2:13-14).

Do you believe in the wondrous virgin birth of Christ? Do you recognize the signs of Jesus' deity?

(4) The Wonder of the Gifts Christ Brings
Because Jesus came, we can have eternal life, lasting peace and joy, purpose and so much more. All good gifts from God come through His Son (James 1:17; Romans 8:32).

Christmas is indeed wonder-filled, but only for those with “eyes to see” and hearts to understand the deity of the precious, promised Christ-child. This final wonder involves our choice.

Those who will not recognize Christ miss the life, joy and peace He brings. But Christians can also miss out when they get distracted from the wonder of Christmas, enamored instead with the tinsel and toys rather than the Truth of scripture—the magnitude of God’s love in sending a Savior, His incredible, undeserved mercy and grace. 

It's so easy to be distracted and even overpowered by the celebrations of this season. But remember - it is a "holiday" ... it is a holy day set aside to remember the wonders of what God has done for us. It’s not wrong to celebrate with the traditions of the world, as long as they don’t stamp out the truth of Christmas. As Noel Piper wrote,
“May our decorations, gifts and festivities—or lack of them—never block our view of Him, but always point us toward Him. Only Christ matters” (Treasuring Christ in Our Traditions, Crossway Books, p. 88).
Like Mary, when we experience the wonder of Jesus’ birth and ponder who He is, we will praise our God with a revived heart: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior …” (Luke 1:46-47). 

Is that your choice today?


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