At Christmas, we celebrate the Baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in the manger. God, stuffed into the confines of human flesh, was wrapped in cloths and laid into a feed trough, and it was a miracle. The miracle, however, was not primarily about the strips of cloth wrapped around that fragile body. The miracle was about the stripes that would, all too soon, be delivered to that fragile back.
The journey to Bethlehem was only the beginning. The manger was simply the first stop on the road to the Cross.
I unpacked my Nativity sets yesterday and, like last year, I rested the babe in the manger on a wooden cross as a reminder.
Jesus didn't come for the manger. He came for the cross.
Isaiah's words were written prophetically about Jesus:
...And I was not disobedient,
nor did I turn back.
I gave My back to those who strike Me...
Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.
But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
Isaiah 50:5,6, 53:4,5 nasb
This year, as we look at the displays of babies in mangers, let's remember the stripes that wracked his back, the sacrifice He made.
Jesu came to present Himself as a sacrifice for my sin, for yours. In the midst of celebrations and gifts and gatherings of family and friends, we must not forget the gift God gave.
He gave more than a baby. He gave the spotless Lamb of God, who took away the sin of the world.
This Christmas, let's Behold the Lamb as never before, for it is by His stripes we are healed.
In case you missed any of the past week's posts, here are the links: Finding Christmas: The Word of God, Finding Christmas: The Importance of Surrender, Finding Christmas: Separating Truth and Fiction, Finding Christmas: Ongoing Surrender, Finding Christmas: Hidden Paths, and Finding Christmas: Not Forgotten, and Finding Christmas: Sustenance for the Weary.
#Advent #keepChristinChristmas #MerryChristmas #JesusChrist #disciple #ByHisStripes #Rememberthecross