08 December 2008

Christmas and Victory

As I read through Revelation again, I always hear my dad's voice at every word, because he read it to us so often as children. Every verse is familiar and expected and comforting because of that. And it puts me into my memories, dad reading by the closet light coming through the open closet door in Kristin's and my room as we went to sleep. Or being sick, and sleeping on the old couch on our old sun-porch, now the dining room, and having dad read to me then. And the time we read it backwards. Not literally backwards, but starting with chapter 22 and ending with chapter 1. Daddy reading Revelation was one of my favorite things ever.

I know Revelation is not typically one of the traditional Christmas readings, but reading it this time around, right when the Christmas season is coming, I have just been thinking about the connection. Christmas is about Jesus. Revelation is about the end times. Or sometime when the tribulation is or was, depending on your point of view and what kind of "-millenialist" you are. I have tired of trying to figure that out.

But Revelation has such a full description of Jesus. A physical description. Jesus came at Christmas as a baby, and I love that and all that it means and why He came. But we do not get to know what He looked like then. I guess that was not the point. Certainly not. But I am so, so glad that, for some reason, He chose to allow John to see Him and write down what He looked like in Revelation 1.

"...one like the son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white like wool, as white as snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength." (v. 13-16)

That He was "like the son of man" means that He looked human at that point, so that John could see Him, maybe? I am not sure. And with a weapon, the sharp sword. And eyes like flames, and feet looking strong and brilliant: a warrior. He sounds like a warrior to me. Not someone meek and mild, as the world sometimes thinks of Him. I know that He is meek, and that He is a lamb, the Lamb of God, but this is a picture of a strong warrior with a cause to fight for. I have not thought carefully through His meekness and strength going together since a long time ago when we studied it together at home. But I know they do. His power and authority and His ultimate victory over wickedness and all that is not true cannot contradict His meekness and patience and love.

But I am so very glad, in the face of all that is evil in our world, that He is strong. That He has a sword! He is our Shepherd, but He is a fighting, Warrior-Shepherd-King. I love that! A baby, at Christmas time, would grow up to be this for us. I have never thought of it quite like this before, but we cannot have Christmas without Easter. The Word became flesh, and He had to become a baby, so in that sense of course we celebrate the birth aspect of it, but if He had not grown up to be our King and Hero and Savior, all that would not matter.

So, as I am getting prepared for Christmas, and thinking about the greatest gift of all, I am in awe and just speechless at how beautiful it is that He follows through. That He is not just a baby, or a pacifist sort of shepherd-figure, but a Warrior-King who will be a Shepherd to His people. He is the one true knight in shining armour.

"Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems..." Rev. 19:11 &12

"He will tend His flock like a Shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young." Isaiah 40:11

And we know that He will win, because God says to Him, "I will make your enemies a footstool for your feet." Ps 110:1 & Heb. 1