As I first sat down to write this post, we were in the middle of Advent. More accurately, we were three days away from Christmas. I had just finished reading through the birth story of John the Baptist (Luke 1:57-66), just finished marveling at the ordinary and extraordinary life he (and his parents Elizabeth and Zechariah) lived, and was again pointed to Jesus.
Yet, I was also still scrambling to think through stocking stuffers for my sisters-in-law, sending out last minute Christmas cards, and wondering what was the best gift to get for our parents. Did wool socks even remotely count? Then, after Christmas, I was also looking ahead to our celebration of the New Year, and reflecting on what was ahead in it.
Here at the beginning of the year, we have already celebrated Christ’s birth and all the presents have been opened, the shopping is over. We celebrated the coming of a new year. As I look ahead to the rest of 2017, and my new goals, and all the hope, joy, and growth I pray that this year will hold, I have to ask: Will I lose sight of the Gospel and good news Jesus brought? It’s a hard question to ask myself, and I hate my innermost response, but painfully, and truthfully, the answer is most likely, Yes.
I rejoiced in the Advent season. I rejoiced in slowing down, setting my mind towards Christ’s coming, and His return. I relished the mornings when my husband and I sat down together and read through the same passages and shared in awe how this baby, this little baby born in a manger is Prophet, Priest, and King. The Savior of the world. It’s the story of Christmas, of new life, that had me enraptured. So I ask myself, how am I continuously captivated by the story of Christ’s birth, and His life in every other season?
The good news? Jesus is always Prophet, Priest, and King. And while, for some, the liturgical season directs one’s gaze towards these truths once a year during the Advent season, we can direct our gaze towards these truths daily.
Christ as King
While it may be at the forefront of our minds in the weeks leading up to Christmas, Jesus is Lord over all even today, and reigns eternally. His dominion and authority know no end. How might we continue to look towards Christ with reverence and awe, recognizing and celebrating His Kingship throughout the year? Meditate with me,
“As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it and it is gone, and its place knows it no more. But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him and his righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments. The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, his kingdom rules over all.”
Christ is Priest
I praise God and give thanks to Him knowing that His Son born in a manger, paid the ultimate price for my sin, in His death, and resurrection. I praise God that His Son has gone before me, is seated at the right hand of the Father, and is acting as my intercessor to God the Father on my behalf. I thank God that Jesus came as the Perfect Priest, that He fulfilled perfectly the role that no Old Testament priest could.
“Since then have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in the time of need.”
Heb. 4: 14-16
Christ as Prophet
I love reading through the Old Testament and studying the prophecies foretelling Christ’s coming. I love soaking in Isaiah and grasping the depth of God’s redemptive plan as He worked out, and declared His Son’s coming for decades. But this good news of redemption Isaiah delivered amidst the hard truths of his prophecy is so unlike receiving Jesus, Himself the Good News. Christ not only came as a perfect Prophet delivering good news of redemption and resurrection to the people— He came as The Message, as the Deliverance. Christ not only came to declare the good news, He is the Good News. Jesus’ birth is not just good news on Christmas morning, but also on a regular Monday when I again need to hit my knees, confess my sin, and celebrate that because of Christ’s death I have life. How might we seek to celebrate that everyday, throughout the day, as we cling to new mercies?
“And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’ And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them’ Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’’
Lk. 4: 17-21
May we give thanks and praise daily this whole year that the birth of Christ Jesus is a gift we get to experience every day.