The Weakness, Paradox, and Wonder 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, I am so thankful you came to fulfill everything promised in these hope-saturated words from Isaiah. But the contrast between your birthing and calling is staggering.

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. 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, all chains will be broken, all injustice will give way to justice.

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

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. Use us—use me today, as a conduit of your tender mercies and eternal encouragement. So very Amen I pray in your merciful and mighty name. Amen.