“In that day they will say, ‘Surely this is our God; we trusted in Him, and He saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in Him; let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.’” Isaiah 25:9
What was the best Christmas gift you ever received? A favorite toy? A special doll or musical instrument? A treasured book? A picture, tickets to a sporting event or concert? Of course, every parent has that hand-made gift from their child that delights their heart. For me, it was a “walking Betsey doll” as a child, and the Christmas my husband purchased every color of embroidery floss that DMC made for my cross-stitch “addiction.” As we wrap up this Advent week, I want to bring our hearts and minds to focus on the most important reason we have for JOY – the salvation of God – the greatest gift ever given.
Sometimes the best gift is something that we need and cannot get for ourselves. This is the heart of God’s gift of salvation. We needed to be saved from the punishment due to us for our sinful nature. We cannot save ourselves, no matter how hard we try to be “good enough,” no matter how much we work, no matter how much we give – we are helpless to secure our own salvation. Mary’s beautiful song, called The Magnificat, expresses this thought: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has been mindful of the humble state of His servant” (Luke 1:46-47).
A popular theology says that God saw His creation falling away from Him, into the clutches of sin and Satan, and He sent His Son in response. But God’s salvation through Jesus Christ was His plan for the ages, from before the creation of man or the earth (ref. 1 Peter 1:20). Before God said “let there be light,” His Son was destined for the cross. Why would God sentence His Son to die for you and me? David answered in Psalm 22:20 – “He rescued me because he delighted in me.” It’s that simple – God delights in you – He loves you, and He rescued you from the penalty of sin and the power of death because He delights in and loves His children. God’s gift of salvation is available to every person, no one is exempt, no one is left out. But the choice to receive or reject God’s gift is ours and ours alone.
What joy is ours when we choose this gift, when we accept this great salvation afforded to us by the blood of Jesus Christ. Hear the words of Isaiah as he proclaims, “I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10). Do you hear the delight and rejoicing? God takes away our filthy garments of sin and shame and condemnation and exchanges them for royal garments of salvation and drapes our shoulders with the robe of righteousness – His righteousness. Oh if that’s not a reason to rejoice, I don’t know what is!
Though He came as a baby, Jesus came to die for your sins and mine. This Christmas, open your heart to receive the greatest gift ever given, the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. If you have accepted this gift, rejoice my friend in Christ, REJOICE!
God of heaven, my greatest joy is in Your salvation. Thank you for giving me this gift that I could never afford on my own. “I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation” (Psalm 13:5). Amen