FAITH: Acknowledge the purpose of His birth
“Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
Surely, he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment, he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people, he was punished. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
Yet it was the Lord ’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore, I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Isaiah 53:1-12
We cannot consider and remember the story of Christmas and the birth of Christ without also acknowledging the purpose of His birth. Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, became man and made His dwelling among us so He could fulfill the will of His Father; “TO GIVE HIS LIFE ON THE CROSS!” This gift was the gift of God to redeem humanity from sin, hell, death, and the grave. This is what we ultimately celebrate on Christmas Day.
So, this year, I encourage you to be intentional about not just acknowledging the birth of Christ, but thank God for sending His Son, the only real gift of Christmas. As well, I encourage all of us to come to the stable with gratitude for the sacrifice He made so we could have life! Lastly, I would say, don’t waste this year and don’t waste this Christmas. 2020 does not have the final word, Jesus does! Get your life right with Him, for we don’t know what we will face in 2021!
Remember in your weakness, Christ died for you! That is Good News!
Merry Christmas to you and your family from myself and Orange Naz Church
Rev. Brad McKenzie is Lead Pastor at Orange First Church of the Nazarene, 3810 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Orange.