Summary: Clothes aren’t always the most prized gifts at Christmas. But the Lord gives us just that for Christmas: Clothes. 1.These Clothes Save You. 2. These Clothes Define You.
This week, we all have yet another Christmas under our belts. And probably many of you thought back during the holidays to past Christmases you had, and the fond memories of these events. Maybe your mind was turned to the presents you remember opening up as a child. Some presents were great! Some were a little ho-hum. Growing up, did you enjoy getting clothes for Christmas? I remember opening up gifts, tearing off the wrapping only to find a box that contained…a sweater. “Great, a sweater” I would say, doing a pretty poor job of masking my unexcitement.
After a few years, my siblings and I got to be experts at shaking gifts weeks before Christmas and determining whether a wrapped gift was just clothes. If a box underneath the wrapping felt light and flimsy: it was clothes. If there was no box and the gift was soft, and lumpy: it was a dead giveaway that the present was clothes and could be set on the “open after everything else” side of the Christmas Tree. Don’t get me wrong, it is not that we were against clothes for Christmas, but they always seemed to be 2nd rate presents compared to toys, games, and other things.
God teaches us a lesson about his gifts to us this morning. The Lord teaches you that his greatest Christmas present to you is clothes. And so let’s study Isaiah as he tells us about these clothes this morning.
Unlike some other times of the church year, like Lent, Christmas is unquestionably a time of rejoicing. During the feel-good Christmas season, we see God’s love for us in the greatest gift ever given. Lent has its joys, but it also has its sorrow as we especially focus on our desperate need for a Savior. The writer of our text seems to be wrapped up in the joyous Christmas spirit, like a child eager to unwrap Christmas gifts. As he considers this present from God, his heart is filled with joy. “I delight greatly in the Lord, my soul rejoices in my God.” And what gives him joy? His Christmas clothes he receives!
Some clothes are really expensive. About 15 years ago during my High School years, Girbaud Jeans were especially sought after. They cost between $80-$90 a pair. Nowadays, you can’t even find this brand name. But back in school, if you had Wranglers, you were kind of out of it. If you had Lee’s, well, they were ok. Levi’s were a tad bit better. But if you really wanted to be cool, you’d spring for the Girbaud brand. And while you can’t even find these jeans anymore, the principle hasn’t changed. You can go to Burlington Coat Factory and buy a suit for a couple hundred bucks, or you can go to the shops in Winter Park and spend a few thousand dollars on a designer suit.
God has some expensive clothes to give his people. And God’s clothes are even more costly and more powerful than a pair of Girbaud jeans. Girbauds might have the power to make you cool in high school, but look at the power of the Lord’s clothes! He calls them: Garments of Salvation. “He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with jewels.”
Of course we all know about the tragedy of last week – the big wave that hit the other side of the world, causing so much devastation. You almost don’t want to read the newspaper because that death toll number goes up by thousands of lives each day. But compare that wave to the devastation caused by the great Flood when the entire earth was covered with water, and everything outside of the ark died because God was angry with sin. There’s not much of a comparison between that Flood and what happened last week. Now compare the devastation of the Great Flood to the total everlasting desolation of bodies and souls in hell, caused by God’s anger over sin.
Not to at all downplay the Tsumani tragedy, but hell is a far more serious calamity. Hell is a disaster from which no one can ever recover from. People around the globe are sinking millions and millions of dollars in the form of aid to the stricken countries, which is great. But how hard are people working to overcome the devastation hell will bring? The world has this hellish disaster on our doorstep, and few even seem to notice.
Even though it doesn’t seem to be a big priority on most people’s minds, sending aid to hell-bound sinners was Jesus’ rescue mission. And our text pictures it as Christ giving us refugees new clothes. Not just rags or hand-me-downs, but expensive, valuable, powerful clothes. In our text, these clothes are connected to salvation and righteousness; they are compared to the preciousness of jewels. These are clothes that will cover up our sins, clothes that will remind us of the sacrificial death Christ made on our behalf, clothes that will fit us well for heaven.