Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010

Merry Christmas from our family in Louisiana, U.S.A. to you and yours, wherever you may be.  Christmas is probably my favorite time of year.  I love everything about it.  The decorations, the food, the festivities, the fun, the cold, the snow (rare here in LA), gift-giving, Christmas music, Christmas shows, and the list goes on and on.  I love to have fun, and my family does too.  But in the midst of all the activities, we try to keep at the forefront of our minds daily the true meaning of this season, as well as well as every day of our lives.  Jesus Christ, our Saviour has come into our world, and given Himself for us and to us.  

Isaiah wrote the following words around 700 hundred years prior to the future earthly incarnation of the Promised One, Jesus who is called "The Christ" (Greek), or "The Messiah" (Hebrew):
Isaiah 9:6 (ESV)
For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  
(7) Of the increase of His government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over His kingdom to establish it and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. 
Did you notice Isaiah's words sound like they are speaking of something that has already happened, past tense, although it was still several hundred years in the future?  That's the way it is with God. He speaks of those things that haven't happened yet as though they have.  You may ask how can He do that?  What if things don't work out like He says?  What if something goes wrong?

Well, He not only holds the future, He also plans it, and ensures that it comes to pass exactly as He has predetermined, or predestined it to be.  I know "predestined" is a word that turns a lot of people off, but it's taught extensively in Scripture.  Look it up in Romans, Ephesians, and elswhere in the pages of the Bible.  As David wrote in Psalms, He (the LORD) sits in the Heavens and does all that He pleases.   The Book of Job says that His will cannot be thwarted.  So even as sure as Jesus came exactly where, when, and how the Bible said He would, He'll accomplish in your life all that He has planned and promised. 

Prior to these verses, Isaiah wrote the following words to a people who were in darkness, and appeared to have no hope. Not only were they in the middle of tough times, but more trials and tribulations, worse than they could ever imagine were on the way.  But he wrote of a future time coming, as though it was past, when things would get better, better than they could ever imagine:
Isaiah 9:1 But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time He brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time He has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.  (2) The people who walked in darkness have seen a Great Light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has Light shined.
Although the Christmas season brings joy to many people, you may be one of those for whom this time of year brings "anguish and gloom", instead of "Holiday Cheer".  Perhaps you've lost a loved one(s) during this time of year, or you may be going through divorce, financial hardship, job loss, or any of a plethora of other things that contribute to your being discouraged.  For those who can relate to "gloom and anguish", what a marvelous promise this is!  Although the context of the passage is to the inhabitants of the lands listed, I believe the message in this passage can bring great comfort to us today, over 2700 years later.

The prophet says there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish.  He also says He has made the way glorious.  He is speaking to God's chosen people.  If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, saved by grace through faith, then you can claim the promise that The people who walked in darkness have seen a Great Light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has Light shined. 

Isaiah also spoke of the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.  I don't know about you, but this brings great Joy and Light to me, because I'm not of Jewish descent, but am what the Bible calls a Gentile, "of the nations".   This Light was promised to us, as well as the Jews.  Jesus, our Saviour has come, and given us Himself, and promised us an eternity with Himself and the Father in Heaven.  Our sins have been forgiven and we have been cleansed from all unrighteousness by His blood!

Even though your current situation may not seem to reflect this promise of "no more gloom", it is spoken of in past tense by Isaiah, and you can be assured of every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God.  Although we know we are to face many trials and tribulations while here on earth, if you're a Christian, there is a better day coming.  If not in this life, then in the next, in the eternal state with Him in Glory!
Isaiah 40:5 (ESV) And the Glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see It together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. 

Merry Christmas!