Like many of you, I have sat through numerous Christmas programs and carol services over the years.
Each year I face the challenge of seeing something new in the Christmas story, something fresh that keeps the season alive in place of repetitious. Virtually every year, the Lord answers my quest, and I am dazzled with a reflection of truth that illuminates my Christmas celebrations.
This year, as I put up my tree, I began again asking the Lord to show me another aspect of His love or a truth that would crown my festivities. He didn't fail. On the very first Sunday in December, as I sat through yet another Christmas sermon, the Word of God burst a ray of light straight into my heart through one phrase.
Nestled in the middle of Luke 1:31-32 are the words "He shall be great." The preacher lingered there but a moment, yet my heart was captivated, and this became my 2020 Christmas meditation. "He shall be great."
Here in these few verses of the Christmas story, the angel gives Mary a promise and a bit of an explanation about the child she is to deliver. His name is to be Jesus. He is the Son of the Highest and will have the throne of David and reign forever. And - he shall be great.
What is to begin in a lowly stable with two humble souls will be great. Her heart must have wondered how that would all work out, but Mary was one of those precious souls who gave her complete devotion, her whole life, to the Lord's will. "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word," was her reply. And from there, she obediently followed on.
But let's come back he the statement, He shall be great. The truth of the greatness of our Saviour captured my thoughts. Exactly how great is he?
Ephesians 2:4, "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us." He is great in love and mercy. Love that extends to no limit. Love that places the Almighty God in the hands of a little maid. Love that protects and provides. Love that showers the heavens with praise and adoration. Love that sacrifices all. Great love, love that never fails. You could mediate here for the rest of your natural days. Ephesians 3:19 says, "to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge." You wouldn't run out of things to consider, for his love is that great.
Psalm 147:5, "Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite." He is great in power. In this same portion of the Christmas story, Luke 1:37, Mary is told, "For with God nothing shall be impossible." Nothing is outside the power of God, even for a virgin to conceive. He is able, fully able, to accomplish his plan from creation to the birth of Jesus, and to the end of time. He holds everything together, and His purpose will be fulfilled, so great is his power. (Colossians 1:16, 17; Ephesians 1:9-11)
And he is great in understanding. His knowledge is unsearchable. He knows our every thought, every word, every hair on our head. And he knows the future. There is no wisdom, nor counsel, nor understanding that can go against him. You will never think of anything God has forgotten. His understanding is complete. He is exact to the minute detail, watering every moment. Check out Psalm 139:1-10. You'll find the psalmist says the same - he is great!
Zechariah 9:17, "For how great is his goodness, and how great is his beauty." We look with awe and wonder at the beauty of the babe in the manger, but the true beauty of our Lord is seen in his holiness and sacrifice. His goodness toward undeserving humankind. He is good, always. He does good, and it good, and his work is beautiful - awesome! Angels bow down to him, all heaven adores him, all creation sings his praise.
Psalm 145:3, "Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable." See there! His greatness is unsearchable.
This simple phrase in the Christmas story has been my meditation for nearly a month, and it remains inexhaustible. He shall be great. He is great. He always has been, and always shall be great. The greatness of his love, understanding, power, and goodness is boundless. Such is our great Saviour and God.
O, come, let us adore him! Christ, the Lord.