Unto to Us a Child is Born
"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, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."Isaiah 9:6
I don't know about you, but as the year comes to a close I have had to cling to hope like never before. So what better way to finish 2019 than with this painting of the greatest hope ever to enter the world in the form of the promised child: Jesus (Yeled)? A child was always at the heart of the Biblical covenant as God promised Eve that her offspring would crush the head of the serpent. It was this child whom Isaiah references in the prophecy above and this same child who then entered our world thousands of years ago in complete weakness and humble circumstances.
It was as I was painting this thought provoking scene of the incarnation that I felt the Father speaking into my own weak and helpless state and infusing me with hope once again that (1) He has already gone beforeevery circumstance or situation we face and has made a way for His purposes to be fulfilled when we surrender to His plan, and (2) He is with uswhen we encounter opposition as we bear the image of Christ within us.
It was He who went before Joseph and Mary and prepared the very place the Messiah would be born. Some believe that the birthplace of Jesus was in fact the very location in Bethlehem where the priestly shepherds would bring the ewes who were to give birth to the sacrificial lambs (Migdal Eder). I wouldn't be a bit surprised if this was in fact true and all part of God's strategy to reveal to His people the future destiny of His Son to be the final sacrifice on our behalf as the Lamb of God. Even the swaddling clothes and manger all played a part in the preparation of the sacrificial lambs (so that they might be without spot or blemish)!
God doesn't make mistakes and these seemingly little details were all a part of the Father's ultimate purpose to reveal His plan to redeem mankind through what Paul described as the "foolishness of God" in Christ's crucifixion. And the story hasn't changed! Today, God also goes before us, working out every detail as we lay down our lives to become like little children, picking up our cross and following Him in all humility and child-like trust that the world would deem "foolishness."
Simeon, who held the Christ child in his arms said of him, "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed" (Luke 2:34-5). Why then should we be surprised at the opposition we face when we choose to live whole-heartedly for the Lord in this age?
Even in this, Jesus has given us His re-assurance: "Remember what I told you: ‘A servant isn’t greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they did what I said, they will also do what you say. Indeed, they will do all this to you because you are committed to me, since they don’t know the one who sent me"
So let this be our hope dear friends in this season as we gaze upon the Child in the manger - Just as Joseph and Mary trusted the Lord's agenda when in the last trimester they had to travel a grueling 90 miles to Bethlehem, so we can trust the Lord's ultimate purpose is worth the sacrifice and remember He will go before us and carry us just as He did them. And when we surrender to Him and choose to live with a heart fully given to the Lord we can be assured that He will be our defender and our comforter amidst promised persecution. May His peace fill your heart beloved and anchor you in the truth that the Yeledis also Immanuel, a God who is truly with us, and
"will never leave you nor forsake you." Hebrews 13:5-6