A promise, a prophesy, an assurance of hope to a people in desperate need for a deliverer. The people living in the tiny nation of Judah during the time of Isaiah were rare indeed. Through they were ultimately just as fickle and unfaithful as their family members to the North, in the midst of a world who worshiped many gods, they believed that the The Lord (Yahweh) was their God, and that the Lord (Yahweh) is one. (Deuteronomy 6:4 ESV). They were surrounded by threats of invasion from Assiria. In this context of uncertainty and in a momentary act of desperate faithfulness, they turned to God. Part of God’s answer was an ultimate מָשִׁיחַ, Mashiach, messiah, anointed one.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6 NIV)
Over 700 long years later we find…
…”shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:8-14)
I can’t image what it must have been like for these poor Jewish shepherds living in ancient Palestine. Did they still hope for a Savior in their day. After-all many generations of people died without seeing this “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. It was common at the time to read from the book of Isaiah during Shabbat and many claimed to be Messiah before Jesus was born. Yet, this day, an angel appeared, piercing the early morning darkness of an otherwise ordinary Judean day. Yet this day, an angel appeared, not to the elite in society, but to common, dirty, simple Shepherds. “THE MESSIAH IS BORN TO YOU!” I imagine that the explosion of praise to God that burst forth from the heavenly host was only matched by the wonder in the hearts of these shepherds. Could it be? THE MASHIACH? THE ANNOINTED ONE? HERE? NOW? “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” (Luke 2:15).
I believe You dear God. I believe in the Mashiach, Yeshua. Although we don’t know the actual day of his birth, we mark this day in remembrance. Out of all the world religions that claim pathways to You. The hand of grace that You extended to us by sending your Son to earth over 2000 year ago is unprecedented, undeserved and unsurpassed throughout history. I believe that it is true that, “You sent Your only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:26).
Our world today follows after many God’s just like the world followed after many gods in the time of Jesus and world followed after many gods in the time of Isaiah. We don’t think that we are pagans, yet we follow after our gods of money, power and fame well enough.
Thank you God, for showing us that your capacity to love us is greater than our capacity to sin. Help us turn to You God. Help us strip away those irrelevant traditions and world views that keep us from you. Help us see you, our one true God. You are Fearsome and Awesome and Good…and I love You.
Oh how I long for the world to love you. Not all will choose you. And through we don’t deserve You, I pray that you would continue to extend your hand even deeper into our hearts and minds.
There are people who claim that they are simply waiting to experience you before they believe…Rock their world. There are people who are wounded by religion…Show them true relationship. There are people who are lost in their own pride and pursuit of significance…Show them their futility. Their are people who are crippled by sin and shame…show them your grace and mercy. There are people who live in deep spiritual and physical pain…Show them your tenderness and your healing power.
You made every one of us. Our very souls were breathed into us by You and now we mark this day, this amazing moment in history when you entered our world, felt human pain, faced human sin and experienced human death. Yet you conquered it with Godly power and perfection. And you did all of this for us, as a sign of your love and to make a way for us to be together forever. No god has ever reached so far, promised so much and delivered so completely.
For this I praise you my Awesome God…and I thank you for Christmas Day…
Let it be so…Let it be so…