“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim
and the war horse from Jerusalem;
and the battle bow shall be cut off,
and he shall speak peace to the nations;
his rule shall be from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you,
I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.
Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope;
today I declare that I will restore to you double.” Zechariah 9:9-12
Our King comes, righteous and having salvation. Our King comes, humbly, and purposeful. The babe in a manger, the King on a donkey, comes to take the throne, bring peace, set captives free, and restore. Welcome Him! Return to the stronghold where He reigns and shelters and fights for us!
When the crowds welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem as He fulfilled this prophesy before His death, they got sucked into the hype of His promised kingdom but failed to understand the cross. Swirling in a vortex of emotional passion and worldly thinking, their devotion was short-lived. They eschewed the stability faith offered. (John 12:12-18,37)
The enticements of this world lure us from Jesus, too, promising a more sparkly kingdom. Tedium and sloth and self-pampering can slip us from spiritual purposefulness. Frenzy and doing pull us from the place of rest; antagonism, suspicion, regret, and resentment keep us distant from inner peace. We don’t like to admit it, but we clamor to follow the haughty beast of worldliness, unconsciously allowing ourselves to be enslaved by productivity, comparisons, and affirmation. We neglect, fail to enjoy, or even shun, the freedom from toil and approval Christ offers. (Revelation 13:3-7)
In all these ways we can dally away from the stronghold which is Christ, but the good news is, He comes! He enters our world of urgent and self-interest, of worldliness and inner battles, as humble King for us to receive. He is not distant or hidden, not impossible to reach or know. He plays no tricks, He requires no improvement or charms. Our stronghold is here. Christmas is our invitation to climb the ramparts once again, to return to the stronghold, the best place from which we can live and move and have our being. (Acts 17:27-28)
This holy season, this time of wonder and remembrance and looking forward, would we return to our stronghold from which we cannot be shaken, nor separated from Jesus and His love? (Psalm 61:2; Romans 8:31-39)
“Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
risen with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by,
born that we no more may die,
born to raise us from the earth,
born to give us second birth.” ~Charles Wesley (1739)
Lord, captivate me with all You are and offer. May Christmas rejoicing be Christmas climbing into the stronghold that is You, Prince of Peace.