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Tuesday, 19 December 2017

He Shareth in Our Gladness!

Lettering by my friend @rach_forsyth

Read: Isaiah 9:1-7

Not only is Jesus acquainted with our sorrows, but he shares in our happiness too.
Our gladness matters to the Creator of the Universe! This is a beautiful thing to remember during a season that is often rich with good gifts.
Every good thing, Christmassy or not, is a gift from him- given for our delight and joy.
Frosty mornings and warming hot chocolates and the smell of pine needles and the warmth of log fires and candles flickering prettily and the cutest of nativity plays and the swell of a choir in full song and the goodness of mulled wine and mince pies and pigs in blankets and Terry’s Chocolate Orange and sherry and countless other blessings - in this and every season, are given to make our hearts glad.
We were made to have hearts that are brim-full, overflowing with gratitude to the Great Giver of all these things!
So often though, my heart is hard and shrivelled rather than glad. In fact, without the cross, each of these gifts would stand only as reminders of my lack of gratitude towards God- that though I have known his goodness, I have not acknowledged him or given him thanks.  
But the story of Christmas is a story of a God who is zealously committed to my joy: Jesus came to share the gladness of God with me.
From all eternity, Jesus has delighted in being the beloved of God, and through his life and death and resurrection- Jesus has shared his belovedness with us. He’s made a way for us to know God and in knowing him to find great joy!
In Isaiah 53: 12  it says that after the Suffering Servant has seen the light of life, “he will divide the spoils with the many.” Jesus is depicted as a mighty warrior who returns from a brutal battle as victor, carrying the bounty of his victory in his scarred hands.
And Jesus, wonderful Saviour that He is, intends for us to share his spoils.
I don’t know if you’ve ever read Zephaniah 3, and doubted that it could be about you. In it, the Lord says to Zion:

The LORD will rejoice over you with gladness;
He will quiet you with his love;
He will exult over you with loud singing.
 If I struggle to imagine God singing with such delight over me, I imagine him whooping and rejoicing and belting out a song of joy over Jesus- who though He was in very nature God made himself nothing, so that His Father would be glorified and His people would be redeemed. Of course I can imagine that! The Father is absolutely enthralled with Jesus!
And that’s the delight, the joy, “the spoils” Jesus invites us to share in; the gladness the Father has in Jesus has been won for us. And because Jesus shares his absolutely pleasing righteousness with me, all those other blessings- the beauty of nature and the richness of food and the preciousness of friendships- are no longer reminders of my lack of gratitude and cold heart, but rather they just pile high as monuments to the abundance of God’s inexplicable generosity!
Every gift comes to me through Jesus: above all, His belovedness.
Yes, he shareth in our gladness.
But incredibly- he invites us to share in his.

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