The English have the 12 days of Christmas in song. The high churches have the 24 (ish) days of advent. Here at Crave Something More, I’ll be writing a series called the “21 Days of CSM Christmas.” Starting December 5 and finishing on Christmas Day, I will write once a day about all things Christmas, in the hopes that we will all continue to see Jesus as the greatest satisfaction to our soul’s deepest cravings.
Day 8: The Christmas Lion
Our lives are filled with ten thousand moments that define the people we are and the kinds of lives we are leading. But there are also a precious few moments that can transcend all the others. These highlights, for better or for worse, tell the story of our lives, in ebbs and flows of blessing and loss, of acts of righteousness and works of sin. And these highlights are often how we are known, and how we are remembered.
The Bible is full of men and women whom we remember, some for their great acts of faith in believing God, and others for their great acts of wickedness in going their own way. As we read these stories, it’s easy to elevate these men and women to something greater than human—because they knew God and experienced God in ways we haven’t, or so we think. And sometimes it’s easy to denigrate them as well, because the Bible pulls no punches in recording their biggest failures and sins.
But many of these saints give me hope. Judah is one of them. This is the hope of Judah:
- Born the fourth son of Leah (the less favored wife) (Genesis 29:35)
- Followed his father back to their home, the promised land given to their grandfather, Abraham, by God (31:17-18)
- Conspired to kill his brother, Joseph (37:18)
- Saved Joseph’s life (by suggesting to his brothers that they sell Joseph rather than kill him) (37:26-27)
- Lied to his father about Joseph’s death (37:32)
- Raised two sons who were killed by God for their wickedness (38:7, 10)
- Failed to keep his promise to his daughter-in-law, Tamar (38:14)
- Slept with and impregnated Tamar, who was disguised as a cult prostitute (38:18, 21)
- Threatened to kill his daughter-in-law, Tamar, over her immorality (38:24)
- Confessed his sin in public, proclaiming Tamar as more righteous than he (38:26)
- Led his brothers into repentance before Joseph, who was governing Egypt (44:14-17)
- Offered himself as a captive to Joseph in the place of his brother (44:33)
- Led his family into the land of Goshen, the place of provision for them by God (46:28)
- Chosen by God to be the royal line of Jesus, the coming Messiah, who would receive obedience from all the peoples of the world (49:10)
Following along Judah’s story is like storming along a mountain trail. There are breathtaking peaks and somber valleys. But as flawed as Judah was, he had his moments of great obedience to God. And more importantly, God used Judah for His purposes. And that’s our great hope.
We know we do not merit salvation. We may be tempted to grovel before God, castigating ourselves as sinners who deserve no mercy. But sons and daughters, who have been brought into the family of God because of the love of their Father, do not grovel. They stand, with awe and humility, because of the great work God has done for them and in them.
This is the hope of Christmas. That Jesus, the Lion of Judah, the Christmas Lion, is the revelation and glory of God given to us so that we might be called sons and daughters of the Most High God. If you are struggling with sin, or are in deep fellowship with Jesus right now, stand with me this Christmas in awe and humility before our God, who planned these things long ago, and is working good for us and in us, so that all the peoples of the world would find the blessings of obedience to this great King.
For the rest of the 21 Days of Crave Something More Christmas, go here.