Saturday, December 18, 2010

O Holy Night: Faith and the Savior

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here came the wise men from Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger,
In all our trials born to be our Friend!
He knows our need—to our weakness is no stranger.
Behold your King; before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King; before Him lowly bend!
This verse is often left out of modern reditions of the song, I suspect because it takes the focus off of us and puts it explicitly on the King. Which of course Americans are not okay with, because we should be the focus of everything, and we certainly don't need a king!
And yet, Christ is the King. Not just the king, but the King of kings. He is God, and worthy of all praise and worship from the greatest and most noble among us. Our American sensibilities aside, Jesus should be worshiped merely because of who He is. In His presence we should fall down in praise.
Sin, however, allows no praise to be given to any but ourselves. Part of our rebellion against God involves our exclusion of Him from our worship. Not only do we actively break His Law, we redefine "virtue" to mean "obeying ourselves as the supreme authority." It is not within us to come to God of our own accord.
Fortunately, God has come to us. Where we are rebels and sinners, God has Himself become a man and lived the life of perfect virtue and obedience that we were supposed to have lived but are no longer capable of. In doing so, God has made a gift of salvation to his people and provided a new means for us to respond to Him: faith.
It is by faith that we are led to Christ, not by obedience to the Law. Faith draws us to the cradle and brightens our hearts in His presence. Faith shows us the King of kings laying in a lowly manger, born to be our friend. Faith turns us from our sin and attempts at self-justification and places our attention and worship on Jesus Christ. Faith is the gift that God gives by which He applies the life of Christ to us. Faith, and faith alone, is the means by which our hearts and knees can bend before God without trembling, because it is by faith that we see that Jesus is the foundation of our salvation.

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