This Christmas season, I happened to 'latch on' to the following pieces:
Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King
In 2,000 years- the reception hasn't really changed. I recently read an article on the dwindling influence Christianity is having at home and in the middle east. The Middle East is being pressed down in persecution, our homeland is being seduced into silence.
The problem is that without Christ, things do not get better. The blessings of God's common grace to all has been experienced by all. Biblical mandates and attitudes make the world better.Very few in the opposition realize that. What they hate about Christianity is their own aversion to it or a failing of those responsible for following it. But the message of the gospel gets lost in fray.
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!
The humbled state of Christ just kept appearing to me over and over. I saw Him as vulnerable. A babe completely at the mercy of someone else's protection. A startling vision in Rev. 12 captures this fragile moment:
And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it. (Rev. 12:3)
The humility of Christ is well documented and lifted up by Paul in Philippians 2 for us to marvel and mimic. I can't really capture what it meant for Christ to be found in this state: someone said 'The Infinite becoming an infant'. And this was no babe in a palace- this was a babe born into third world status.
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace!
So this kept haunting me, over and over. Who can explain this? Who dares to understand?
But just as tender and helpless- fragile and vulnerable- with fire and danger attacking- with disease and poverty present- This sweet Jesus babe was as safe as any secure and strong place in the Universe. He was firmly in the Hands of the Sovereign God of All!
Though a dragon seemed poised to strike- the power and opportunity at its prime- there was no probability of it happening.
Even Satan knew this- this wicked fiend knew the Scriptures himself- he quoted Psalm 91 as he tempted a starving, humbled servant in the wilderness in Luke 4:
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;Satan knew and still knows the most vulnerable aspect of God's providence- CHRIST.
Do you ever feel helpless? Powerless? Open for destruction?
If you try to live through this situation without God- you are more fragile than you even know.
I have always been so impacted by this quote from the German theologian David Strauss:
“In the enormous scene of the universe- amid the whirl and hiss of jagged iron wheels- amid the deafening hammer blows- man, a helpless and defenseless creature, finds himself- not secure for one moment- any second an imprudent wheel may seize and rend him, a hammer may crush him to a powder- and worse- the sense of abandonment is awful.”And this is any human state apart from the security and provision of the Creator.
Today could be the greatest realization you could ever make- "I am NOT self sufficient. All my fight and toughness is not enough".
Jesus gave a great clue to security and peace:
Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew18:4
What do I learn from the Christ child? Though He put Himself in a place of vulnerability, He was never fragile.
He was in the safest place in all the universe...... in the shadow of God's wings...........
May we be willing to be found as fragile and secure.