Consider Christ

Everyone has a Christmas dream.

In another generation it was sugar plums.  Today it might be an iPhone 14.  Or an Xbox.  Or a new pickup truck.  Or a book (or a loaded Kindle).  Or maybe a family trip.  Or a family meal where all the children and their families gather together.  Or a stocking stuffed with candy.  Or a good night of sleep.

Everyone has a Christmas dream.  What is your dream?  What is your contemplation and meditation this Christmas season?

Might I suggest that this Christmas we consider Christ — that we meditate on and contemplate Christ?

It’s hard not to think at least superficially about Christ.  Manger scenes abound at this time of year — there are several of various kinds in my neighborhood, and probably yours too (though sometimes the manger shares space with Santa or His reindeer and that’s somewhat odd).  Mangers are used in television commercials and print advertisements and of course most Sunday worship services this month include readings from the Christmas story.  So it’s hard not to think about Jesus at this season.

Most people will think of Him this month — at least in some superficial way.  He will be remembered as the Christ-child, the Son of Mary (and adopted son of Joseph), the cousin of John the Baptist, the One who was visited by both the disenfranchised (the shepherds) and the advantaged (the Magi).  He will be remembered as the One whose arrival was announced by angels and visited with death, from Herod’s hand.

So Christ will be thought about this Christmas.  But mostly He will be thought about as the “acceptable” Jesus — the cuddly baby, the non-speaking, non-confrontational child. 

As we remember the arrival of Christ, we do well to consider Christ in the fullness of His arrival.  The writer to the Hebrews exhorts us, “Consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself…” (Heb. 12:3).

A consideration of Christ must include a contemplation of Christ’s arrival against the backdrop of the cross.  On the way to that cross He endured such hostility…  What kind of hostility is that?  The writer is referring to the hostility he mentioned in verse 2 — where because of the joy the Father placed before Him, Christ endured the pain, humiliation, and infinite wrath of the cross, not caring about the scorn and shame that was hurled at Him and that was associated with the cross. 

The hostility faced by Christ was unjustified and from unjustified people — sinners.  The sinless One was hated, accused, maligned, persecuted, and crucified by sinners.  The contrast is bold — and even horrific.  Sinners, against Him — the sinless One.  The One who chose to humble Himself for the sake of sinners was despised by those sinners. 

Consider that Christ.  Think about the eternal and infinite Son of God who set aside the privileges of glory to take up the humiliating and low mantle of manhood (Phil. 2:5-8).  Think about the sinless Son of God that died.  Think about the sinless Son of God who willingly, of His own accord, died so that He might absorb His Father’s wrath against your sin.  He who should not die, who did not deserve to die, who had no need to die, chose to die for those of us who should die, who do deserve to die, who need to die.  He died, so that we would not have to die. 

Consider the Christ who did these things for joy (v. 2) — for the joy of purchasing people from the bondage of sin, liberating them, transforming them, and spending eternity with them in His heavenly Home.  The hostility and cross He endured was heavy and humbling.  And it was done by Christ with joy.  He did not endure anything begrudgingly; it was satisfying for Him and it was His delight to come to earth so He might also go to the cross — and so that He might save some of His enemies and make them His sons.

It is appropriate and honoring to God for us to acknowledge and give thanks to Him at this season (and always!) for the incarnation of the second person of the Trinity.  But the incarnation is of no value to us unless Christ fulfilled the promises of a suffering servant and Savior (Is. 53) and unless He fulfilled the promises the Father made to the Son to redeem sinners (Titus 1:2). 

So this Christmas season, consider the coming of Christ alongside the death and resurrection of Christ.  Consider the beginning of the plan of redemption with the completion of the plan of redemption.  Consider the advent of Christ that was motivated by His desire to bring you to appear in Glory as a righteously redeemed man.  This Christmas, consider the fullness of Christ.  

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