Life is a battle, you can choose to attack or defend it, but never surrender to its mayhem.
I know these are not exactly Christmassy words, nor are they full of Holiday cheer! Ok, to set the proper Christmas tone: Peace on Earth, Hark! the Herald Angels Sing, Deck the Halls... fa la la la la, Go tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born, Gloria, Oh, Holy Night, Joy to the World!
This Christmas I want something more than carols, nativity scenes, trees and shopping. If I could have just one gift this Christmas, I would desire to have a deeper revelation of the purpose of life. Not just my life, but yours as well. I have concluded that I cannot understand life, unless I acquiesce to the very essence Life. Therefore, I dare to take a peek beyond my natural view and stray away from my normal ideology, regarding the genuine purpose of Christ’s birth. I am risking all that I perceive, in the hope of seeing with startling clarity. As I gaze into the cradle of Christ, I do not see a baby. I see humility swaddled in the radiance of eternity. I see pure unfathomable love. I see perfection. I see the beginning and the end. I see life, His, yours and mine.
From the moment of divine conception, Jesus' life was thrown into the arena of conflict. Back then, the whole embarrassment and isolation of being born out of wedlock meant a life of estrangement, you were an outcast, shunned from society. I guess one could say Christ was birthed into a sacred battle zone. His cradle was placed in the nursery of the ultimate Holy war - the war for all mankind. The heavens declared His glory; meanwhile the hosts of hell strategized His demise. God the Father entrusted Joseph and Mary to protect His Son, the Savior of the World, the Giver of Life. After His birth, Christ’s chosen parents did not hesitate to act upon God’s instructions. They quickly fled the country, willing to live and start over in a foreign land. By following God’s orders, Joseph and Mary secured Jesus’ future by shielding Him from Herod’s diabolical massacre. I don’t even want to imagine what would have happened, if they had chose not to obey.
When it was time for Jesus to step into his God-given destiny, His battle intensified. He entered the desert, a dry wasteland, a place where there is no life, to be tested. Take a few seconds and mediate on that... Selah. Jesus purposely deployed himself into a place with no food, no water, and no shelter, it was just Him out in the open, surrounded by nothing. Christ denied His humanity and embraces His divinity by engaging His enemy with supreme authority. Jesus defied each temptation by declaring the Word of God –thus becoming “Rhema” the Living Word! As a result, He walked out of this badlands devoid of life, into an oasis filled with the Holy Spirit, as the absolute ambassador of Life.
As He crosses into the threshold of ministry, Jesus was harassed by non-believing family and friends. He counters this attack by gathering a force of special men (yes, Jesus trained up a special force team, He called them disciples.) For the next three years, Jesus and His hand-selected band of brothers, travel from place to place, healing the sick, raising the dead and preaching the Kingdom of God. At times, Jesus exemplified the battle strategy of “take the Kingdom by force.” Jesus had no reservations when it came to pointing out fallacy of manmade righteousness, He called it like He saw it – the religious leaders of the day were a brood of vipers. Furthermore, although angered, Jesus acted decisively... Yep; He stood outside the temple courts, and braided together a tightly woven whip. Then He took that whip and drove out the temple money changers, overturned their tables, and boldly announced that His Father’s house should be a house of prayer, not a den of thieves! This ruckus certainly got everyone’s attention.
Most of the unbelieving world, regards Jesus as a passive individual, a good man. This is true, His love is boundless, however, His goodness is divine, surpassing the scope of any carnal man. Jesus Christ is no wimp; His meekness is not weakness, but unfathomable strength, divinely controlled. Jesus is the ultimate WARRIOR. Jesus intimidated the pious Sadducees and Pharisees; He was threatening and subversive, so much so, that the Sanhedrin (the elite religious council) sent a legion of soldiers to seize Him under the cloak of darkness.
Jesus valiantly stood among His accusers, and defeated them with a silent resolve. Christ never surrendered to the chaos, never cast blame, never threw a pity party and never sought retribution. Upon the cross He truly endured the agony and the ecstasy of His life. The day turned dark, the earth quaked and a deafening holy decree erupted with the words “it is finished!”
The cross was not the end. No, not by any means, the war was just getting started. Jesus descended into the enemy’s lair. He faced the devil head on, and on his own turf. What a showdown this must have been. Jesus rose victoriously with the keys of Hell and death firmly in His grasp. Jesus conquered ALL the hellish adversities of life, by giving His life. Through Him we are more than conquerors! The battles will come, BUT, if God be for us, who could be against us? No One! The victory is ours.
With a renewed perspective, take a moment and gaze into the cradle, what do you see?