Wednesday, December 20, 2017

This is Christmas

When we think of Christmas, we think of an angel telling a young girl she would bear the Son of God and the beautiful words she penned in response. We think about the virgin bride and the man betrothed to her traveling far to pay taxes. We think about the young virgin, heavy with child, being turned away from the inn to give birth in the dark of night. We think about the newborn babe lying in a manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes. We think about the shepherds being surprised by an angel announcing the birth of the Lamb, We think about their trek to Bethlehem to the beat of the angel Choir singing praises to their God. We think about the Magi following the Star all the way to Bethlehem to offer gifts to the young King. But the truth is, these are just part of the beautiful story we call Christmas. These stories are a part of an epic redemption saga much like chapters in a book--each chapter needed to grasp the fullness of God's story.

Christmas is about God fulfilling the promise He made in the Eden to destroy the Enemy--the enemy with which we all are so familiar. We know him for he is the one tempting and taunting us with blatant, ugly lies. He is the one seeking to destroy us with addictions, pornography, and strongholds of sin that run deep. He is the one trying to destroy our relationship with our Creator by drawing our attention away from the One who loves us completely, purely, and sacrificially. 

Christmas is about God being a covenant-keeping God. It is about Him keeping His covenant with Noah, promising He would never again destroy all life with flood waters. It is about God keeping his covenant with Abraham, promising to give him a son, land to call his own, and enough descendants to make a great nation through which all families of the earth would be blessed. It is about God revealing and fulfilling the dream of Jacob's ladder, providing mankind the gate to heaven.

Christmas is about preserving the life of Joseph while living Egypt to preserve Israel through a famine. It also about freeing Israel from slavery in Egypt and walking them all the way back to the promised land, drowning the army of Pharaoh that was in hot pursuit.

Christmas is about Rahab being saved as she clung to the hope promised in the scarlet cord hanging from her window as the walls of Jericho came crumbling down.

Christmas is about Ruth finding grace in her mother-in-law's family to give birth to the grandfather of David.

Christmas is about the covenant that God made with David, promising that through David a King would come whose throne would be eternal. It is about the King who would reign in righteousness, love, power, truth  and grace.

Christmas is about the fulfillment of prophesies given by the God who wants us to know His Son. He told us He would be born to a virgin in Bethlehem, be from the tribe of Judah, and from the family of Abraham, Issac, Jacob, and David. He foretold that Jesus would spend time in Egypt and Nazareth, while many children would die as the enemy sought to kill Him. He told us Jesus would be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty Prince, and Emmanuel.

The Father told us Jesus would be tempted by Satan and not given in, be rejected by his own country. He told us Jesus would speak in parables and heal the brokenhearted. He told us Jesus would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver, falsely accused, illegally tried, spat upon, struck, mocked, hated without cause, and crucified between criminals with His hands and feet pierced and His side stabbed. God told us Jesus would be the forsaken One who prays for His enemies, a sin offering, and bear the wrath of God for us so we could be made righteous.
Christmas is also about future prophesies. He will return for His bride, the church--not as a the Lamb--but as the Lion of Judah. He will come on a white horse and be called Faithful and True. He will make war as He judges in righteousness and truth. His eyes will be like flames of fire. On his head will be many crowns. He will be clothed in a robed dipped in blood and He will be called The Word of God, the King of kings, and the Lord of Lords. From His mouth will come a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations and He will rule them with a rod of iron. He will make all things new and there will be no more sickness, no more death. He will wipe every tear from our eyes. The righteous will rule and reign with Him for ever and ever.

And, this, all of this. is Christmas.

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Several years ago I realized that I often sped through my Scripture reading and gave it little thought. Yet, when I had meaningful conversations with friends or family members I replayed them over and over in my head. One day it occurred to me, that if I thought more about what God says in his word that I would not only know more about Him, but I would come to know Him in a personal way. I would know more about His thoughts, His character, His intentions, His passions, and His actions. So, I began to take one verse at a time and think on it and then journal about it. At the time I was served as a volunteer in youth ministry and shared my “Thoughts on God” with those girls. For a while I have been rewriting and posting them on this blog. I have realized when I am in the Word or move through my day focusing on God's presence that I have wonderful opportunities to Meet God in the Everyday. The Everyday can include storms, blessings, hard things, scary things, exciting things...just any where, anyplace, any time. I hope that you will be able to engage with what I write with both your head and your heart. I also hope you will be challenged to love, trust, and know the God of the Scriptures. It is my prayer that as you read you will experience Him at a deeper level and share pieces of your journey in the comments. It is my desire that we form a safe community of believers who pursue the God who loves us radically, eternally, and without reserve. As a precious pastor once told me, "Don't forget, Wendy, God is Good!" I find myself compelled by His Goodness and His Love to share so others can know Him through all the ups and downs of life. Please feel free to dialogue back and to share how each passage impacts you. If if there is a passage you would like me to write on or if you would like to be a guest blogger, please let me know. I am just learning to navigate this blog and appreciate the kind comments you have made in the past...I promise I will even try to respond if you leave a note. If you are blessed please share the blog with friends!