The Paradox and Praise of Jesus’ Birth


The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory. Isa. 61:1–3 (NLT)


Lord Jesus, we’re in awe, knowing you came to fulfill everything listed in these hope-saturated words from Isaiah. But that awe gets ramped way higher when we compare your humble birthing to your staggering calling.

Though Mary nursed you, she depended on you for her next breath and her eternal salvation. Though vulnerable and needing her comfort as a newborn, it was you who came to comfort all who mourn, including Mary. O, holy and profound mystery—a Newborn Child has come to make all things new.

Even as a babe, the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord was on you, for you are the Sovereign Lord—the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The One by whom all oppression will be stopped and all chains will be broken. The One through whom injustice will give way to justice.

By you, mourning is transformed into gladness, broken hearts become whole hearts, despairing hearts become joy-full hearts. We, the disfavored, become the favored of the Lord. Our disgrace is replaced with full grace. Who possibly could’ve seen, known, and believed such a thing, given the circumstances of your birth?

But the meekness of your birth was a sure hint of the weakness of your death. As surely as you were placed in an unlikely crib, you were nailed to an undeserved cross. Hail the incarnate deity—born that we no more may die, died that may truly live. We worship you, O, glorious and grace-full Lord Jesus. May we live today as conduits of your tender mercies and eternal encouragement. So very Amen we pray in your merciful and mighty name.

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