While Christmas is a time we celebrate the birth of a babe, we also somberly realize that Jesus’ birth came about because truth was nowhere to be found. The Lord looked and was displeased with what he found on earth – no justice – no one righteous – no one to intervene as sacrifice for the wickedness of man. So, from God’s own arm, he achieved salvation for us.
What’s interesting is that Christmas is about a birth and a death. Jesus was given unusual gifts in which one represented his kingship, another, for his worship and lastly one for his death. Myrrh was given for the embalming of his body at the time of his death. Can you imagine being given a coffin, death certificate and embalming fluid at your son or daughter’s baby shower? Heaven forbid! However, heaven did not forbid these gifts for his son, because it was this birth that marked the beginning of saving people from their sin and bringing about permanent peace on earth and good will to all men.
Jesus came like a pent-up flood and was driven along by the breath of the Father. Truly, Jesus’ birth was a great invasion into man’s indifferent evil ways. His invasion took place in a poor family and his life on earth began in a stable. His surroundings did not include pastel colors, sweet baby powder smells, and a rocking chair to soothe his cry. Feed, dung, and chill was his welcome. The filth of sin and wickedness was his blanket, for he came to live among us, suffer and die for us.
His suffering didn’t just include a barbaric beating or a wretched whipping. That would have been horrible enough, amen? No, his suffering went farther than any human can imagine. There is no comparison on earth to what our Savior endured. How could any human endure such brutality? How could he see this suffering all the way to the cross? With an unrecognizable human body, with blood thickly plastered against his frame, and with hammered nails in his feet and hands, he still had strength enough to say, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” It could not have been human strength that survived him to this point. If it were, we would not have needed him as our Savior. So, how did he endure?
It was Jesus’ own righteousness that sustained him! “He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak” (Isaiah 59:17). (I don’t think we fully realize the power in God’s righteousness! Indeed, his righteousness is more than a blog!)
Christmas is the most bitter-sweet time of the year. It represents life and death. Sadly, so many can totally understand this; as many experience losing loved ones at this time. But Christmas is also a time of hope. Without the righteousness of Christ, he would not have been able to endure an impoverished beginning and a ghastly end to his mission. It was and is his righteousness that sustained him. And we now have access to that same righteousness. We have the same breastplate that armors us for battle. We can wear the same helmet of salvation; we can wrap ourselves in the same zeal that our Savior wore.
Life can be bitter-sweet; however in this duel experience, we have power – power to overcome whatever trial that makes its way upon us. It is true, that if we shun evil, we become evil’s prey. While prey we may be, God’s Spirit does not leave us. The same righteousness that endured Jesus from birth to death and life again is still enduring inside us. His righteousness is his greatest weapon. He always wins! Put on this breastplate and have total confidence in its protection…”for God is our hiding place and he will protect us from trouble and surround us with songs of deliverance” (Psalm 32:7).
Psalm 32:7; Isaiah 59:15-17, 19, 21