Here’s the scene:
It’s the night before Christmas. I’m lying in bed, tired yet wide awake because I can’t help but wonder in amazement at the love of God.
I think back to that silent night those many years ago.
Jesus Christ, God in human form, was coming into the world.
And little did they know.
Little did the people of Israel know that their promised Savior was entering the world in such a humble state, bringing a treasure worth selling everything we own for. Little did they know that God would beckon the lowliest people to behold His glory first because God scatters those who are proud in their inmost thoughts and exalts the humble.
Little did they know that they would fall asleep to the glory of the Law, soon to awake to the glory of the Son.
God was taking His people from glory to glory. He was bringing something new. He was changing everything. And how thankful I am today for what He did that night.
I can’t help but celebrate that my God saw fit to deliver us from a glory we could never grasp by sending His Son to die that we might behold His glory and draw near with unveiled faces.
I can’t help but rejoice because there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life sets us free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:1).
I can’t help but worship the Lord because He allowed the world to behold the glory of the Son.
Tonight, I lie down in peace because God has taken me from glory to glory.
He has lifted the old covenant given through His servant Moses and brought the new covenant given through the blood of Christ shed on the cross.
I imagine Moses as God gave him the old covenant on the mountain. Moses came down from the mountain after speaking with God and covered his face with a veil. Why? Because his face radiated with the glory of God and the Israelites couldn’t behold the greatness of God’s glory on their own.
To this day that same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away (2 Corinthians 3:14).
We are very mistaken if we think we can accomplish through the Law that which only Christ could accomplish (and did accomplish) for us through the cross.
Don’t get me wrong. There was glory in the Law. But whenever a soul turns to the Savior, a greater glory awaits them. The veil is lifted. The curtain is torn. The path is paved that we may approach the Father in all His glory because of all His grace.
And that is why we celebrate. We celebrate because Christ did what only Christ could do. Jesus Messiah, Lord of all, came and died and rose again. Now living to intercede for us at the right hand of the throne of God, we have a High Priest who is able to save completely those who come to God through Him. We have a High Priest who made the atoning sacrifice for our sins. We have a High Priest who descended into the world, defeated sin and death, and ascended to the heavens, paving the way for us to approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we might receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:14-16).
It is by grace we have been saved, through faith, and this is not our own doing. It is the gift of God!
No rams, bulls, or lambs sacrificed to God could save us. The Law written on tablets of stone could not save us. But praise God this new covenant isn’t written on tablets of stone, it’s written on our hearts.
Christ brought an intimacy with God never known before. He sent all His love our way and, when we turn to Him in repentance, He sends all our sins behind His back, never to be counted against us again.
As all of these truths wash over my heart, I fall asleep, overwhelmed by the goodness of the Lord.
Flash forward and it’s Christmas morning.
I open my eyes to a beautiful sunrise filling my room with beautiful colors. Christ opens His eyes to a smelly stable, probably filled with animals. I fall in love with His glory all over again. And I imagine Mary, Joseph, and the Shepherds fell in love with God’s glory wrapped up in the face of a precious babe lying in a manger.
Jesus is here.
The Messiah who would later save the world has arrived and those who know it can’t help but rejoice that freedom from captivity and reconciliation to God has arrived.
The new covenant has come.
As a result, I arise in victory this Christmas morning. I know in the deepest depths of my being that my Savior is alive, more real than the ground beneath my feet, and more than enough. This same Jesus who came to the world those many years ago is the same Jesus who is looking down on us in loving kindness today. This same King we sing about is the same King who is rejoicing over us with singing. This Savior who came as an atoning sacrifice is still the one and only atoning sacrifice for our sins. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through Him.
After much preparation for this Christmas season, today I rest. I rest because I know that I serve a God who rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the Kingdom of the Son He loves. The Law was glorious but Christ’s glory outshines it all. Jesus sacrificially died, lifting us from one glory and tenderly placing us at another.
His plans for us are good, they always have been.
My heart explodes with gratitude as the truth in God’s Word comes to life all over again.
And imagine this: we only see a fraction of the glory now. One day, it will be even more glorious because we shall behold Him face to face. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known (1 Corinthians 13:12).
Friends, the Gospel is real. These are not just words on a page, this is not just an inspirational story, this is not just the reason for the season, this is Life in rich abundance that cannot be found anywhere else.
This is a glory that could not and cannot be grasped a part from Jesus. Yet now, in Him, I behold it and nothing can compare.
Christmas is nearing an end. I look out and see a room full of people, my loved ones, intentionally created and called by my beloved Savior. We’re not perfect, but we’re atoned for.
I wonder what my Jesus saw as He looked out across the stable. I wonder if He knew what awaited Him as the very first Christmas drew near an end. I wonder if He knew the depth of our need for Him as He lay in that manger. I wonder if He knew the price He would pay before He returned to the Father.
I can’t say for sure what was on the heart of my Savior that night, but I do know what was on His heart as He went to the cross: you and me. Jesus, the Son of God, cried out: “Father, forgive them,” to those who nailed Him to the tree.
Because He came to redeem us. He came to love us. He came to make us new.
We’re not perfect, but we’re made whole by the One who is. Truly, no good thing exists a part from Him. Yet, in Him, we lack no good thing.
Hallelujah, what a Savior!