The past few weeks we’ve been learning a Remember Verse with the students I teach. It’s one of my favorites at Christmas time. “For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” Isaiah 9:6.
One of the things I have loved the most in teaching this is helping the kids grasp the enormity of God’s plan as he revealed this. Not just pieces of his plan, but seeing the fullness of his plan. We look at the beginning of the verse to understand it’s God the Father sending his son, Jesus. It’s such a great verse to ponder over during the Christmas season. Then we pause and look at where this verse is found. Isaiah. I then ask the kids if that’s Old or New Testament. They now recognize this is in the Old Testament which means this verse was written hundreds of years before Jesus was born.
It shows me that God had a plan. He had a good plan that included his son. You see, God Created. In the beginning, God created all and said it was GOOD. And Jesus was part of it.
The opening verses of John remind me of this:
“In the beginning was the WORD, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (1:1-5)
v:9 “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him… v:14 The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, FULL of grace and truth.”
He didn’t have to come to earth. He had a plan though. God revealed himself to the Israelites. He gave the law, not to provide law itself, but to show his love. So that we would know him, honor him, love him, desire to be with him.
We made a choice, as his creation, to turn from him way back in the garden. We were separated from him because of our choice. But he had a plan. A plan to love us. A plan to restore us. A plan to redeem us.
And we didn’t choose his plan.
We kept doing things our way. In our time. AND he still loved us. Still revealed himself to us; out of His abundance of love.
He is slow to anger, slow to judgement, giving us time to know him, time to love him.
He was silent for a moment. There was 400 years of silence where he didn’t speak through any prophets or reveal any miracles.
Then God quietly began to reveal his plan. On a hillside, out away from the crowds, away from the affluent, away from the “religious” leaders.
God didn’t just give a piece of his love. He didn’t just give a little of Himself. He poured all his power and majesty and love into this world through his son Jesus. Fully contained in the human form so he would know. So he could sympathize not just in part, but in whole.
Even though that human body died on a cross, love did not. Love conquered death. Love rose stronger. Love remains. Not in pieces, but in whole. And it’s here for us today. WE can still choose to turn from the wrong things we do, we can ask for forgiveness, we can ask to know him. Not just with part of our lives, not just with pieces, but with all our lives. We can love with not just part of our love, but with all our love.
Because He doesn’t give us just part of his heart. He doesn’t give us his leftover pieces.
Do we do that to him? Do we just offer back our leftover pieces? Do we wait to come to him at some point when we have all of our pieces fixed and figured out? Do we get so busy or feel so broken that we remain in pieces, keeping them to ourselves? Or do we think that somehow we must put ourselves together perfectly before we come to him?
He loves all your pieces. He’s the one who wants to step in and put your pieces together, perfectly, and love all of you, with his fullness.
So let us remember this Christmas, as we recall the birth of Jesus long ago, he came as love, as light, in full. And he satisfied our debt, in full. And now, when Jesus looks on us, he doesn’t love just parts of us. Pieces of us. He loves all of us. All the time. We can trust in that.
Don’t let what feels like broken pieces in you hold you back from the one who longs to restore, renew, and pour in full love.