Jesus! (when all is not calm and bright)

What pictures fill your mind when you read the Christmas story? Maybe your mind is filled with the many nativity scenes decorating lawns and coffee tables. And all of them look so peaceful, don't they? Jesus gently lays in the hay, Mary looks fully recovered from labor and filled with joy, worshipers stand adoringly nearby and even the animals look clean and docile.

No doubt there were peaceful moments coupled with wild joy and astonishment at the reality of the promised Messiah finally being born. In reality the greatest battle-stage was being set. The Savior had come to conquer sin and death, the King had arrived to wage peace for sinners, the Redeemer had come to accomplish the buying back of sinners to Himself.

In reality, all was not calm and bright in the world when Jesus arrived. He came and identified with the most broken, sinful, and debilitating situations. He did not come to sleep in heavenly peace throughout His short life. He came to accomplish salvation through blood, sweat, tears, prayers and finally death on the cross.

When you read through the Christmas story it is good to be filled with reverence and awe at the reality of God becoming man. But don't fill your minds only with peaceful birth scenes, don't miss the glory of the story! Look further into the wonder of God becoming flesh:

See Jesus live perfectly so that the cost of your sins could be satisfied by the perfect Son of God.

See him entering broken lives and infusing life and hope with his salvation.

See his Kingly power as he worked miracles so that people would know he was the Son of God.

See his love for sinners as he carried his cross and died upon it.

See his power over death as He rose again from the grave.

See his love for his people as he ascended up again to heaven to intercede for his own and to prepare a place for them.

When you look at your life this Christmas, be encouraged that the greatest gift did not come to sleep in the hay. He knows the chaos, disappointment and messy middles of all our stories. And He is not a helpless babe standing wistfully at the side of our lives wringing his hands and wondering how to help. He is our Captain, Conqueror, our Strong Deliverer, our Ascended King!

If you are dwelling in disappointment and despair, look to this Savior. He is able and willing to save from the darkest and deepest night.

He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25