Merry Christmas 2016

img_1156Christmas greetings one and all! I’m reading by the fire most every morning this cold season a chapter or two from “The Pursuit of God” by A.W. Tozer. His subtitle is “The Human Thirst for the Divine.” That seems apropos when pondering Christ coming to earth as a man, which is the meaning and story of Christmas. Allow me to share a couple of his paragraphs with you, while at the same time encouraging you to read Luke chapter 2. It’s full of wonder and mystery.

    Behind the veil is God, that God after whom the world, with strange inconsistency, has felt, “if haply they might …find Him.” Acts 17:27

     He has discovered Himself to some extent in nature, but more perfectly in the Incarnation. Now He waits to show Himself in ravishing fullness to the humble of soul and the pure in heart.

img_1159I pray He does show Himself to you this season, as he did to shepherds, wise men, and prophets of old. I’m presently involved in a men’s Bible study of Isaiah, perhaps the greatest Hebrew prophet. It’s intriguing and joyous to me that in the midst of pronouncing God’s coming judgments on Judah and Jerusalem, as well as, their violent and morally decadent neighboring nations — a grace filled course correction and the removal of evil on a mass scale, if you will — the prophet pauses several times, almost mid sentence as it were, with joyful proclamation of a future king who will save people from their sins and their enemies.

Isaiah’s very name is the main theme of his book… “Salvation is from God.” It happens to be the same meaning as Jesus’ name. “God is salvation.”  “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)

img_1161Some examples of joyous proclamations amid judgment proclamations from this prophet 700 years before they happened include:

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:6–7)

But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. The people who walk in darkness Will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, The light will shine on them. (Isaiah 9:1–2)

img_1151When I read that last sentence, “…the Gentiles. The people who walk in darkness Will see a great light…” And Tozer’s sentence “He has discovered Himself to some extent in nature, but more perfectly in the Incarnation.” I think of Bethlehem Star, that excellent DVD I watch every year at this time worshiping in wonder and awe. It’s about the magi in search of the child king, as recorded in Matthew 2. Give it a look! You’ll be glad you did. 

“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” (Matthew 2:2)

I want to leave you with one last thought this Christmas season, and it’s from Micah the prophet, a contemporary of Isaiah, prophesying the same judgments to the same people at the same time, and with similar shouts to all about the future coming King. He recorded for us and people of all time…

“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.” (Micah 5:2)

And…

This One will be our peace…. (Micah 5:5a)

Merry Christmas!

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