Thursday, December 10, 2009

"From the Shadow Lands into the Light of Christ"

Ove at Gospel Coalition there's an article by J. V. Fesko on one of my favorite hymns, O Come, O Come Emmanuel. Andy uses the hymn as his example of the real meaning of Christmas. Two snips:
As people sing this hymn they assuredly know that they are singing about the birth of Christ. However, what is striking about this hymn is its approach to unpacking the birth of Christ. It moves from the shadow lands of the Old Testament into the light of the New Testament with the revelation of God in Christ. This hymn traces the themes of Israel’s exodus to the eschatological, or final, exodus that was to begin with the birth of the Messiah.
When we contemplate the birth of Christ, we must not do so in terms of some sort of saccharine tale about an infant king born to bring the world some joy—to give some glimmer of hope in an otherwise gloomy place. When we think of the birth of Christ we should also not get caught up in the seasonal sentimentality, where Jesus is but one of a number of symbols meant to inspire kindness and good cheer: snowflakes, snow men, sleigh rides, and Jesus.

Rather, the birth of Christ is the long-awaited fulfillment of God’s promises to his people, the beginning of the eschatological exodus. Christ was born in a lowly estate, in the likeness of sinful flesh, that he might redeem for his Father a people, that he might redeem for himself a bride, a bride for whom he laid down his very life.
Read the whole thing and be blessed.

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