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Whatever binds us––sin, anger, loss, regret, resentment, sickness or despair, the Lord Jesus Christ … the Great Redeemer … the Great Deliverer … came to earth to set us free. Heralded by Heavenly Hosts of Angels, the Great I Am descended from celestial realms of glory into a lowly manger for you and for me.
He who is greatest, made Himself least. He who is the Great Heavenly Shepherd, voluntarily became the sacrificial lamb.
In the beautiful words and testimony of the Apostle John, and George Frideric Handel’s magnificent Oratorio Messiah, “Behold the lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world.”
In ancient Israel all newborn paschal lambs were brought forth, swaddled, laid in a manger and ritually cleansed by shepherds chosen to watch over God’s holy sheep––those bound for temple sacrifice. This Babe of Bethlehem, this pure and perfect Lamb of God, too was brought forth, swaddled, laid in a manger and watched in wonder by humble shepherds. But in time this holy lamb, this precious little one, would become the ultimate sacrifice!
Like the blood of an unblemished male lamb, smeared on the doorposts of the houses of the children of Israel, saved Israel from the angel of death and freed them from suffering and bondage (Exodus 12: 5, 7, 13); blood from the Lamb of God––Jesus Christ––smeared on the wooden posts of Calvary’s Cross saves and frees us from the bonds of death, sin and suffering. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15: 21-22).
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and hath redeemed us to God by his blood, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour and glory, and blessing. Blessing and honour and glory and power be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever. Amen
(George Frideric Handel Oratorio Messiah, HWV 56 (1741), Worthy is The Lamb That Was Slain; See Revelation 5:12-14).
Therein lies the true meaning and gift of Christmas … “the reason for the season” … Jesus Christ! The only gift that can lift our burdens, heal our troubled hearts, minds and bodies, open our prison doors and pronounce peace to our souls.
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government Shall be upon His shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
So as we bring home our beautiful balsam trees, adorn them with glowing lights and place gifts beneath, let us remember it’s all about “Him.” He is the Tree of Life. He is the light of the world … the source of all light that shines throughout the universe, giving light and life unto all creation. He is the gift of whom the angels sing, Glory to the newborn King!