Breathes a life of gathering gloom:
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb.
As we sang "We Three Kings of Orient Are" in church today, this verse of the hymn hit me like never before. Usually, everyone focuses on the joy of Christ's birth - wonder, beauty, peace on earth, joy... these are all words we hear at Christmas time and hear in the carols we sing. We coo over the babe in the manger, the beauty of the scene in the little stable of Bethlehem.
We sing, "Joy to the World. " Certainly, Christ's coming to the world - God with us, in human flesh - was the most wonderful, joyous thing that had ever happened to the world since it began. It was joy - for us. Miserable, sin-sick creatures that had a God and Creator willing to stoop to their level...
But on Christ's part, coming to earth was for the purpose of death, ugliness, to become the vilest thing known to man as He "became sin" and "became us" that we might be made the righteousness of God.
May we continue to rejoice that Christ came to earth for us - the wonder that God should die for me! - but may we ever be mindful that He came not just to bring joy and warmness to hearts of shepherds, but that he actually came to become the vilest of sin that we might have peace with God.
May we live with that perspective. Enough people live carelessly. Enough people abuse the grace of God. May I be one that does more than marvel at a Holy Babe in a manger. May I marvel at the Righteousness and perfect Justice of my God and live my life accordingly.