As I have been saying to and praying for Northshore throughout the month of December, my great hope is that we don’t miss Jesus on Christmas day. In the midst of all of the family, friends, and festivities, let your heart be drawn to the Christ of CHRISTmas.
This past Sunday, I preached on Isaiah 53, the Suffering Servant. We began our time in the word together with a clip from A Charlie Brown Christmas. Charlie Brown and Linus go and pick out that little, undesirable, unattractive Christmas tree. And as that little tree makes its not-so-grand entrance into the auditorium, it (along with with Charlie Brown) is met with mockery, disbelief, and disappointment… the same reception that Jesus receives as He comes to this world, puts on flesh, and brings the rescue mission of God to us. And this world receives Him with mockery, disbelief, and disappointment.
So… back to that little tree. It’s the “tree of shame.” There’s another tree of shame… the cross of Christ. “and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed” (1 Peter 2:24). And in the same way that the little Charlie Brown tree gets beautifully decorated at the end of the show, taking center stage as the kids and the singing fade out, so this Christmas and forevermore, the cross of Christ, the tree of shame and death, takes center stage and becomes glorious and beautiful as it is forever the symbol and reminder of Jesus giving His life for ours… bearing our sin fully so that we might be brought back to Him. The tree of shame has become the tree of glory.
Don’t miss the Jesus who put on flesh to die on the tree for you. And may His great grace and love carry you into this New Year!