Clothes for Christmas

December 20, 2021

“I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me in the garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of His righteousness…”  Isaiah 61:10

It’s a well-known fact:

Most kids don’t like getting clothes for Christmas.

I was no exception.  

Growing up, I remember tearing open a present, hoping to uncover a new action figure or the hottest toy of the season. Instead, much to my chagrin, I found a sweater and a stylish pair of corduroy pants.                      

Can you say, “Bah, humbug?” 

Now that I’m older (and much wiser), I recognize that I didn’t appreciate the gift of new clothes nearly enough because not everyone was as fortunate as I was. 

However, while we should certainly be thankful for our physical clothes, nothing compares to the incredible blessing of receiving ‘clothes’ that cover us spiritually.  

Our spiritual clothes, much like the ones under my childhood tree, are a gracious gift. We can’t buy them. We can’t earn them. And we definitely can’t make our own “garment of salvation” or “robe of righteousness.” All we can do is humbly receive them.  

Earlier in Chapter 61, Isaiah explains that we receive our spiritual garments directly from the hands of the Messiah. The Messiah is anointed with God’s Spirit to “preach good news to the poor,” “bind up the brokenhearted,” and “proclaim freedom for the captives” (Isaiah 61:1). 

Hundreds of years later, Jesus reads these same words in a rustic, Nazarene synagogue proclaiming, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). 

Jesus, the Messiah about whom Isaiah had written centuries earlier, had arrived on the scene. His perfect life, sacrificial death, and glorious resurrection paid the ultimate price for our spiritual clothes.         

But to reject the clothes that Jesus purchased on our behalf is to fundamentally reject what the Bible says we need the most: His righteousness

Simply put, we can’t save ourselves. The only way we can ever be declared righteous before God is through faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:21-24). From the moment we place our trust in Him, He covers our wretchedness with His beautiful “robe of righteousness.”

How amazing is that?

And it gets even better…

He doesn’t just clothe us once, but over and over again.  

We have all played the part of the prodigal son countless times, wandering away from the Father’s tender care. But every time we humbly return, He runs out to meet us, calling out, “bring out the best robe and put it on him!” (Luke 15:22). The robe is an astonishing gift of mercy!   

So, what does all of this have to do with Christmas?

Christmas is an annual reminder of our need to be clothed in the righteous robe of Jesus. 

Author Paul Tripp states: 

“You can’t celebrate the birth of Jesus and hold on to your righteousness. If you were capable of being righteous, He wouldn’t have had to come.” 

This Christmas, maybe it’s time for you to finally exchange the robe of your self-righteousness for the robe of His righteousness. 

Or perhaps you’ve been gladly wearing His robe for a while. If so, it’s time to express your gratitude once again. Whether it’s been six months or 50 years, we should all follow Isaiah’s advice.  

Let the garment of your salvation and the robe of His righteousnessflood your heart with immense delight and deep, abiding joy. 

Come to think of it, getting clothes for Christmas isn’t such a bad gift after all, is it?

Written by Jonathan Munson, Executive Director, RFTH