We are in what is commonly called the Festive Season. What is it that we celebrate?
As Christians we remember the birth of Jesus – the Saviour; the Christ – Anointed One; Immanuel – “God with us” (Is. 7:14; Matt. 1:23). “Yahweh, God Most High, Maker of heaven and earth” (Gen. 14:19, 22) – the most holy, unapproachable God of the Old Testament revealed himself as “God with us”, in the likeness of a man.
Yet, we cannot see Him only as the baby in a manger, with angels singing “Glory to God and peace on earth”, shepherds and wise men arriving to witness the miracle birth. For over the manger looms the cross – the purpose of His coming, and ultimately the crown of victory.
Paul writes to the Philippians “…Christ Jesus, who, though he was God, did not think equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges, he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated him to a place of highest honour and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus (Saviour) every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:5-11).
When John the Baptist saw him at the Jordan and his eyes were opened to understand who his cousin truly was, he declared: “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29) – Jesus, the Saviour.
He came to us the first time in obscurity to present the grace of the Father to us and reconcile us to our God – to bring peace between God and man, and to birth his church, his bride. But when He returns it will not be as an obscure baby in a stall with animals around. Isaiah paints a different picture and puts the Jewish nation centre stage at His triumphant return.
In Isaiah 9:6-7 we read: “For a child is born to us, a Son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passion and commitment of the Lord of heaven’s armies will make this happen.”
May God help us to look past the baby in the manger to the perfect work of salvation Jesus worked on the cross for all who believe in Him and lift our eyes to the heavens, from where He soon will return to subdue his enemies and rule the nations. May we declare with Job: “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes – I and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:25-27)
“Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” (Rev. 22:20)
Founder of the Christian Missionary School in Kwa Zulu, Natal, S.A.
Teacher and Missionary
Founder of orphanages. -Many orphans call her mother.