the gift

We celebrate a death.

We buy gifts, sing songs, get merry and even giddy. We overeat and we overindulge.

Yet a mother sacrificed, a baby was born to suffer for our sins. For our benefit, for our salvation, a life was given.

It was’t easy. Don’t for a minute think because he was God that it didn’t hurt, that his flesh would not have chosen to rather not.

And He … began to be struck with terror and amazement and deeply troubled and depressed. And He said to them, My soul is exceedingly sad (overwhelmed with grief) …. He fell on the ground and kept praying that if it were possible the [fatal] hour might pass from Him. And He was saying, Abba, [which means] Father, everything is possible for You. Take away this cup from Me (Mark 14:33-36 AMP)

He felt it. The weight and ugliness of our sin. It was overwhelming. The rejection, the hate, the evil, the awful, the hurt in every wound inflicted on his body. He carried it all.

For me.

And for you.

Let it sink in. Take a moment to really consider what was given, what it was that was actually exchanged.

He came to pay OUR debt in full. He came to repay what was suffered, to return what was lost, to make restitution for the damages done.

The cost was great. The cost was life.

Sorrow seems more appropriate.

Except we are talking about a generous God with unconditional love for us. And so this sorrow is our gift.

For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. (2 Corinthians 7:10 NLT)

His gift to us is life in exchange for death, hope for despair, love for grief.

He comes with salvation and recompense.

so plain, so small

My servant grew up in the Lord ’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. (Isaiah 53:2 NLT)

The most surprising aspect of the coming of our Savior was the manner in which He arrived. Didn’t we expect Him to enter with pomp and circumstance? He was God after all.

Instead he sent a fragile infant. So small. So ordinary. Not born in a castle or fortress, not delivered amongst kings and thrones. He was plain. Unremarkable. Born to simple parents in the most common and base surroundings.

Scripture continues and tells us that not only was He plain, He was:

despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. (Isaiah 53:3 NLT)

Our Lord came for the brokenhearted, those who suffer deeply, who have been lost, neglected and especially those who have been rejected. He himself experienced our hurts and deepest wounds.

And just like Christ, though we may feel small and inconsequential, forgotten even, in our darkest moments we are in fact in the Lords presence. He has never turned away from us.

When He saw we could no longer see, feel or hear Him in our despair. When we had turn away and run too far from Him to find our way back on our own, He intervened. He sent His Son to find us, save us, and forever heal us of our sin and the sin of the world that had wounded us.

So that we too could grow and flourish, even in a parched and dry land, even in the most difficult and unbearable of circumstances.

For if that small, tender child, that tiny seed, could grow to be the mighty tree with long branches that would save generations upon generations, so we too have hope of overcoming and becoming greater, better than we dare hope or imagine, God with us.

shoots and stems

Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse,
And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.

The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The spirit of counsel and strength,
The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. (Isaiah 11:1, 2 NASB)

When life doesn’t seem to make sense, when health, finances, relationships get difficult, it’s good to know there is someone we can look to, lean on and who has the answers to our very specific and intimate situation.

The promise of new life, hope and redemption when it seems like all has been reduced to a stump, is Christ to us.

And as descendants of Christ we are His beneficiaries. His spirit rests on us as well. Wisdom, understanding, counsel and strength are the resources we have at hand when we open our hearts to accept Him, to know Him, and to love Him.

We are blessed to know that we will once more bear fruit.

He comes to restore.