I have always been intrigued with “oxymorons.” Oxymorons are figures of speech that combine normally contradictory terms such as “good grief,” “small crowd,” “original copy,” and “clearly confused.”
Many of these oxymorons are found in the midst of the Christmas season. During this time of year we talk about “Christmas shopping” and “silent night.” Christmas is really about giving, not shopping. Our culture gets confused with this part. In regards to silent night, Christmas is anything but silent. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are often some of the busiest and loudest days of the year with all the church services and family activities taking place!
Now it’s a final oxymoron I want to reflect on. This final consideration is Jesus the Lion and Jesus the Lamb. Is Jesus a mighty, powerful lion, or a kind, sacrificial lamb? The answer is that Jesus is both.
As Jesus the Lion, there is an untamed, wild, and reckless side to Jesus. There is a wild side to the calling and ministry of our Lord. Throughout his work on earth, Jesus beckons his followers to leave their families and friends and confront the leaders of the day, whether they are religious or political. There is a wild side to Jesus. Jesus is the lion.
At the same time, Jesus the Lamb, is an appropriate title and understanding for our Lord. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, “Don’t resist violence! If you are slapped on one cheek, turn the other too. If you are ordered to court, and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat too.” (Matthew 5:39-40, The Living Bible)
There is a soft, suffering servant side to Jesus as well. This side is seen as he surrenders his own life to save others and brings new life and new beginnings to all. Jesus is sacrificial in all he does.
As Christmas approaches, I encourage you to consider the oxymorons that surround you. However, it’s one, Jesus the Lion and Jesus the Lamb, that deserves special attention. Might this understanding of Jesus impact your faith journey! Might it bring out a bit of Lion and Lamb in each of you!
With Joy at Christmas! Scott