We were singing "O Holy Night" at our Christmas eve service tonight and the power of this one line overwhelmed me....
"Long lay the world, in sin and error pining, till He appeared and the soul felt it's worth"
In a day when everyone "adds value" I was reminded that until he appeared, the value of my soul was only theory. No one had put anything on the line for me. No one had gone to bat for me. No one had stood up for me... until HE came and at that moment my soul (and the souls of all humanity) began to feel their tremendous worth. Value is determined entirely by what someone will pay for the product. The owner might think it's priceless but the buyer may say it's only worth $1.99. The owner might think it's not worth very much, but to a collector the final piece of a set is absolutely priceless. When Jesus came to earth as a man to redeem all men, He spoke volumes of the worth that He places on me. People don't always see themselves (or other people) as valuable and worthwhile, but if HE does, that changes everything.
What kind of God puts it all on the line to redeem a creature gone awry? What kind of love moves Him to give His ONLY for the sins of many. After a while the theological, legal, technical aspects of this amazing miracle begin to sap out the wonder of God's amazing grace and work demonstrated to us on this day. The beauty of what happened is sometimes lost in a maze of theological banter, debate and technicalities intended to bring clarity but far too often just muddying the water.
"A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn."
Hope springs eternal when you know that God believes in you. I had the strangest thing happen on the way home from China. I took a few minutes just to say "thanks" God for allowing me to go on this trip, when God INTERRUPTED me. He stopped me to say "thanks Tim. I couldn't have done it without you." I realize it sounds incredibly arrogant to say that and it's not verbatim by any means, but what I want to share with you is the very clear sense I got that God was communicating His belief in me and the value He continues to place upon me. That brief interlude with Him sparked hope and confidence in me. There is a new and glorious morn for all of us because Jesus came to earth to live and walk in the flesh. He came bringing hope, forgiveness and the promise of a bright new day. I used to think I understood the "new day", but I've come to see it in a whole new way. Our best "yesterday" pales in comparison to the brightness of the tomorrow that He has prepared for us.
Have an amazing Christmas!!