Wednesday, December 20, 2017

This is Christmas

When we think of Christmas, we think of an angel visiting a young girl to reveal 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 just to pay their taxes. We think about the young virgin, heavy with child, being turned away from the inn and giving birth in the dark of night. We think about the newborn babe lying in a manger, wrapped snugly in swaddling clothes. We think about the shepherds surprised by an angel announcing the birth of the Lamb and their trek to Bethlehem to the beat of the angel Choir singing God's praises. We think about the Magi from far away who followed the Star all the way to Bethlehem so they could offer their gifts to the young King. But in truth, these are just part of the beautiful story we call Christmas. We tend to think of God stories as individual stories that stand alone, but they aren't. They are apart of a epic redemption saga much like chapters in a book--each chapter needed to fully grasp God's story.

Christmas is also about God fulfilling the promise He made in the Garden of Eden to destroy His Enemy. This is the enemy we all are so familiar with. The one who tempts and taunts each of us with his lies. This is the one seeking to destroy lives with addictions, pornography, and strongholds of sin that run deep. This is the one trying to devour us by drawing our attention away from the one who loves us purely and sacrificially. 

Christmas is also about God being a covenant-keeping God. It is about Him keeping His covenant with Noah and his offspring, promising He would never again destroy all life with flood waters because of man's sin. It is about God keeping his covenant with Abraham, promising to give him a land to call his own. It was about Him fulfilling His promise of a son through whom a great nation would rise to bless all the families of the earth. It is also about God graciously restating His promises to Abraham's offsprin and fulfilling the dream of Jacob's ladder, providing mankind with the gate of heaven.

Christmas is also about preserving the life of Joseph while he lived in Egypt to provide for Israel during a famine. It is also about freeing Israel from slavery in Egypt and taking them back to their promised land via Red Sea, and 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 hung from her window as the walls of Jericho came crumbling down.

Christmas is also about Ruth finding grace in her mother-in-laws family to give birth to the grandfather of David and about the covenant God made with David, promising David through him a King would come whose throne would be eternal--a King who would reign in righteousness, love, power, truth  and grace.

Christmas is also about the fulfillment of prophesies given by 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 line of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob. He told us Jesus would spend time in Egypt and Nazareth and that many children would die as the enemy sought to kill Him. He told us Jesus would be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty Prince, and Emmanuel. He told us Jesus would be a prophet like Moses and King like David. He told us He would be tempted by Satan and not give in. He told us He would be rejected by His own people and  speak in parables and heal the brokenhearted. He told us He would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver. He told us Jesus would be falsely accused, illegally tried, spat upon, struck, mocked, ridiculed, and hated without cause. He said Jesus would be crucified between criminals, having his hands, feet, and side pierced and though forsaken that He would pray for His enemies. He told us He would die as a sacrificial Lamb--a literal sin offering, taking the wrath of God for us so we could be made righteous.

Christmas is also about future prophesies concerning Jesus. He will return for His bride, the church, but not as a the Lamb. He will return as the Lion of Judah. He will come on a white horse and will be called Faithful and True, making war as He judges in righteousness and truth. His eyes will be like flames of fire and 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. And He will make all things new and there will be no more sickness, no more death, and He will wipe every tear from our eyes. And the righteous will rule and reign with Him for ever and ever. And 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!