Archive for the ‘Advent’ Category

161224In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,  “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. (Luke 2:1-20, NRSV)

Can you imagine being in a strange place, not your home when it is time to give birth to your first child? Now granted it is the home of your extended family, but you are not with them. We think of this night as a silent night, where a hush fell over all of the earth. But did everyone know what was happening? No one knew, but Joseph, Mary, Elizabeth… Everyone else was going on with their lives as normal, or not so normal because of the census.

The world was not quiet, but thankfully Mary and Joseph listened and believed what the angels told them, so in a space in Bethlehem a baby that would save the world came to be on this night.

And then the world got more hectic with shepherds and visitors. For He is the savior of the world. Let us go and see this thing that has taken place and then go and tell everyone!

So on a not so quiet night, the savior was born. Let us not keep quiet either and tell everyone, Jesus Christ is born this day, savior for all!

161223How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of the messenger who announces peace,
who brings good news,
who announces salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
Listen! Your sentinels lift up their voices,
together they sing for joy;
for in plain sight they see
the return of the LORD to Zion.
Break forth together into singing,
you ruins of Jerusalem;
for the LORD has comforted his people,
he has redeemed Jerusalem.
The LORD has bared his holy arm
before the eyes of all the nations;
and all the ends of the earth shall see
the salvation of our God.
(Isaiah 52:7-10, NRSV)

Break forth in singing for the Lord has done great thing, and beautiful are the feet of those who bring this good news to all the world

So sing the praises of God from the mountain tops and in the lowest of valleys so that all can hear of His wonders!

For the Lord brings us salvation and we get to herald that message to the world!

161222Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying,  Ask a sign of the LORD your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the LORD to the test. Then Isaiah said: “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. He shall eat curds and honey by the time he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. For before the child knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted. (Isaiah 7:10-16, NRSV)

This is a passage which we Christians read as a prophecy of the coming of Christ. The one we await in just a few days. But here are the problems with that.

This prophecy of Isaiah is for King Ahaz whose kingdom is under siege. There are 2 kingdoms coming down upon him and Isaiah says before the child that is born eats curds and honey (about 2 years) the siege will be done. Now if this is a prophecy of the coming Messiah we await, then Isaiah is telling King Ahaz to hold out about 750 years and all will be good. Not a very good prophecy!

But how many times can a prophecy come true before it is no longer prophetic?

The sign of God with us is all around us and especially comes to us in the baby in the manger we await.