Christmas 2022

Welcome to Christmas.  Whatever you may think of Christmas –  it is your feast.  You  are a child of God, and this time of year belongs to you.  Along with Easter (that I would like to call Passover), Pentecost, and Thanksgiving, Christmas is one of four annual 21st century Christian feasts to serve as a celebration of the Character of Jesus, just as the seven Jewish Feasts had their fulfillment in the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus.  Christmas is yours – you determine the content of the Feast.

Without you, Christmas would have no content – it would be cacophony of ringing cash registers, repeating carols in malls as secular as possible singing about Santa and reindeer and snow, stressed-out people, crying children and disappointed expectations.  Money is foremost in everybody’s minds – how else would they buy that special little something and the big problem over Christmas is – the whole family wants a special little or even a big something.  

Mailboxes to Santa adorn the houses – Christmas is, after all, all about my wishes and desires.  The Elf on the Shelf is a threatening menace to snitch and squeal on the dark deeds of terrified children whose gifts are under threat.  

Is there a message somewhere in this commotion of yearnings and appeals?  One might find grandma’s manger-scene somewhere, but honestly, isn’t it a bit too common, too colourful and unsophisticated to serve as reminder in our modern houses what this really is all about?

Many people have many problems with Christmas and the way we celebrate it.  

As we enter the Christmas season of 2022 our world buckles under turmoil and tragedy – international and national, public and private.  Let us reflect on a very special time of the year to give substance and direction to a frivolous world drifting along in a stormy see without an anchor. 

I know the date is probably wrong – December was too cold for the lambs to be outside with the shepherdsso that they would be free of roofs and walls to hear celestial voices of peace and good tidings.  How did we decide to celebrate in December?  

The Church of the First Century and the Early Church did not celebrate Christmas.  The tradition started around 200 AD with December 25 and January 6 as alternatives.

In the Julian calendar, (we use the Gregorian Calendar – solstice is the 21st) the twenty-fifth of December was reckoned the winter solstice, and it was regarded as the Nativity of the Sun. The days begin to lengthen and the power of the sun to increase from that turning-point of the year.  All the gods of the ancient world were made-up stories in a desperate attempt to explain the phenomena of the world in which they lived.

Many pagan traditions are linked to the solstice  – the great Oriental goddess, the Egyptian worship of the sun-god Ra, whose birth also fell on December 25 as the people looked forward to longer days and summer.  The Romans called their sun-god the son of Zeus.  

By the end of the third century, the Western Church accepted the 25th as the date for a celebration of the Sun of Righteousness as Malachi (4:2) called our Lord – the sun and not son.  The Eastern Church stuck with January 6th, which they connected with the visit of the Wise Men – in many parts of Europe January 6 is celebrated as the Feast of the Three Kings.

We can see the confusion amongst the people when pagans started feasting around the darkest days of the year and the Christians had nothing.  The Church shifted the focus of the solstice and the birth of the sun to the birth of the Sun of Righteousness to guide the feasting to the Truth.  

I can just imagine a priest in the village who invited his flock to gather and celebrate Jesus, instead of staring at the wild, drunken and immoral parties of the pagans.  The Christians could go out and celebrate instead of hiding in their own homes so as not to participate in a festival of idolatry.  

Surely one of the first Christmas sermons encouraged the people to think upon the Sun of Righteousness, the coming of the Lord Jesus, the birth of the true Sun, who is the Light of the World in the darkest, coldest days of the year.  Christmas started as a Festival of Light.

Talking about light…

The Jews celebrate Hanukkah – the Festival of Lights – also around this time of December, which they calculate in their own special way. The date is not always the same, but it often happens in the last days of December. This year it will run from December 18 to 26 – eight days long.  The Feast is not mentioned in the Torah (first five books of the Bible – for Christians the Pentateuch), because the events took place 200 BC – thus in the midst of the 400 years between the Old and New Testaments.   Jesus attended the Feast of the Dedication (another word for Hanukkah)  – John 10:22. 

The miraculous events of Hanukkah prompted the rabbis to add an arm to the Menorah – the lampstand of the Tabernacle who had seven arms of almond blossoms.  Let’s get the background to this in as few words as possible.

The events that inspired the Hanukkah holiday took place during a particularly turbulent phase of Jewish history. Around 200 B.C., Judea—also known as the Land of Israel—came under the control of Antiochus III, the Seleucid king of Syria, who allowed the Jews who lived there to continue practicing their religion. His son, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, proved less benevolent: Ancient sources recount that he outlawed the Jewish religion and ordered the Jews to worship Greek gods. In 168 BC, his soldiers descended upon Jerusalem massacring thousands of people and desecrating the city’s holy Second Temple by erecting an altar to Zeus in the Most Holy place and sacrificing pigs within its sacred walls.

Led by the Jewish priest Mattathias and his five sons, a large-scale rebellion broke out against Antiochus and the Seleucid monarchy. When Matthathias died in 166 B.C., his son Judah, known as Judah Maccabee (“the Hammer”), took the helm; within two years the Jews had successfully driven the Syrians out of Jerusalem, relying largely on guerilla warfare tactics. Judah called on his followers to cleanse the Second Temple, rebuild its altar and light its menorah—the gold candelabrum whose seven branches represented knowledge and creation and were meant to be kept burning every night.  The war lasted for 1290 days or 42 months or 3,5 years – exactly as Daniel predicted. 


“From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.”  (Daniel 12:11-12) 

The Temple was cleansed and repaired so that the sacrifices could be reinstated.

According to the Talmud, a compilation of ancient teachings regarded as sacred and one of Judaism’s most central texts, Judah Maccabee and the other Jews who took part in the rededication of the Second Temple witnessed what they believed to be a miracle. Even though there was only enough untainted, sacred olive oil to keep the menorah’s candles burning for a single day, the flames continued flickering for eight nights, leaving them time to find a fresh supply. This wondrous event inspired the Jewish sages to proclaim a yearly eight-day festival.

The celebration of Hanukkah was another prompt towards celebrating Christmas as a focus on the true Light of the World.   Only one Man on the face of the earth in all history of mankind said these words:  I am the Light of the World.

WE give meaning and significance to the tradition.  Do you know that Christmas is celebrated in the Islam word – decorations, trees, gifts and all?  They also regard Jesus as a prophet.  They feel free to celebrate without recognizing him as the Son of God or the Resurrected Lord.  

When we commence our feasting let the WORD of God dwell richly in us.  

Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you,
And you have overcome the wicked one.
  (1 John 2:14)

You are My witnesses,” says the Lord, “And My servant whom I have chosen, That you may know and believe Me, And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, Nor shall there be after Me.  (Isaiah 43:10)

Do not fear, nor be afraid; Have I not told you from that time, and declared it? You are My witnesses. Is there a God besides Me? Indeed there is no other Rock; I know not one.’ ”  (Isaiah  44:8)

Hundreds of thousands of Christmas cards are mailed each year.  In spite of a secular drive to talk about Happy Holidays, so as not to mention the Christ of the Mass (the origin of the name is the Mass – Catholic  Communion – celebrating the Christ – you know Catholic means the universal church), the message of the Christ is printed and distributed on a large scale.  By far the majority of Christmas cards features the manger scene, the star and the three wise men.

Bring in the tree as a lovely symbol of the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden in Genesis and the Throne Room of Revelation.  Decorate it with trumpets to celebrate God’s voice, angels to celebrate the celestial beings active in the Word and in the invisible Kingdom of God on earth, and balls – symbolic of the fruit of the trees that feed us from the wonders of Creation. 

The tree refers to stump of Jesse – Isaiah 11 – the prophetic word on the Messiah.

Christmas trees are always evergreen trees – depicting everlasting life.   Think of the  tree as the symbol of life and life more abundantly not dependent on the season.

There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse,
And a Branch shall grow out of his roots.
The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him,
The Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The Spirit of counsel and might,
The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord
  (Isaiah 11:1,2)

Make a little card with this Scripture written, so that everybody is reminded of the significance of the Christmas tree.   

Write about the Tree of Life besides the River of Life, with the Twelve Fruits by the Throne of the Most High. The leaves of the Tree were for the healing of the nations.

In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:2,3)   

Pray for the nations as you decorate the tree.  Think of the regular provision of God – every month of which the fruit of the tree speaks, as you hang the balls on it.

Trees are symbolic of people in the Bible.   You are the tree, planted by rivers of water, bringing forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.  (Psalms 1:3; Jeremiah 17:8) Trees of righteousness, we are called, a planting of the Lord.  (Isaiah 61:3)

Do you remember the healing of the blind man at Bethsaida.  Jesus spit on his eyes (John 9:6).   First he could only see men like trees, walking and then perfect sight.  Jesus healed his spiritual insight, before He healed his physical sight . Spiritual sight is more important – it was restored first.  (Mark 8:22-25)

Think when you set your table and load it with special dishes – that you are the jewel in the Crown of Jesus.  Your name is written in the Book of Remembrance as you exalt Jesus as the King of the Feast.  (Malachi 3:16-18)

Look with spiritual insight and see the jewels in the Crown.  See yourself as  of great value to the Kingdom.

Think upon the food on our table as symbolic of the Feast.  What would you have served if you knew Jesus would come in person?  How would you set your table – his place?  Well, He is coming.  He is coming in the family, even the difficult ones that you accommodate and serve, He is the lonely friend you invite over, He is the child who watches the festivities with great attention and who is being trained how to celebrate the Greatest Story Ever Told. Jesus said I was naked and you clothed me, sick and you helped me, in prison and you visited me.  Who will you clothe with love and forgiveness this Christmas? (Matthew 25:35-46)

Raisin cakes were given to the people by King David when the Ark of the Covenant came into Jerusalem. The Ark of the Covenant was the symbol of the Presence of God.  David was overjoyed – he danced.  His dance was an expression of the joy he felt when he had the privilege of inviting the people to witness the Presence of God in Jerusalem.  (2 Samuel 6:19)

We are the New Jerusalem – the Church.  Let us celebrate the City with no temple – the whole City is the Most Holy – where God dwells.  We walk the streets of gold – our testimony with white clothes (cleansed by the Blood of the Lamb) and seeing eyes.  (Revelation 3:18)

David wore the best clothes for the event – a linen ephod – a priestly garment.  Peter says we are the priests of the Kingdom of God.  We serve in our best outfits in the Kingdom.  Think of that when you dress up physically, but more importantly – what  do you wear on your spirit – the garment of Praise, (Isaiah 61:3) the covering or robe of Righteousness.

Jesus is celebrated – What is his Name?  Immanuel – God with us.  Re-unite the Trinity.  Creator God, loving Father.  He incarnated his mind, his thoughts, his character, his WORD – Jesus.  Jesus is what God would have looked like had He been human.  The Holy Spirit is his breath – his life-breath in us. Without his breath our spirits are dead.

The colours of Christmas remind us of his character and life on earth.

Red for the Blood that  He shed for our redemption, green for life – everlasting life, God-like life, gold and silver for the King of Kings.  The King is in your house.

Sing the songs of praise and feasting.

Have you heard of climate change in the nineteenth century? The origin of the most well-known Christmas Carol, a time of desperate need and political turmoil, is perhaps not that well-known.

The song’s lyrics were originally written in German just after the end of the Napoleonic Wars by a young Austrian priest named Joseph Mohr.

In the fall of 1816, Mohr’s congregation in the town of Mariapfarr was reeling. Twelve years of war had decimated the country’s political and social infrastructure. 

Meanwhile, the previous year – one historians would later dub “The Year Without a Summer” – had been catastrophically cold.  The eruption of Indonesia’s Mount Tambora in 1815 had caused widespread climate change throughout Europe. Volcanic ash in the atmosphere caused almost continuous storms, even snow, in the midst of summer. Crops failed and there was widespread famine.

Mohr’s congregation was poverty-stricken, hungry and traumatized. So he crafted a set of six poetic verses to convey hope that there was still a God who cared.

“Silent night,” the German version states, “today all the power of fatherly love is poured out, and Jesus as brother embraces the peoples of the world.”

Mohr, a gifted violinist and guitarist, could have probably composed the music for his poem. But instead, he sought help from a friend.

In 1817, Mohr transferred to the parish of St. Nicholas in the town of Oberndorf, just south of Salzburg. There, he asked his friend Franz Gruber, a local schoolteacher and organist, to write the music for the six verses.

On Christmas Eve, 1818, the two friends sang “Silent Night” together for the first time in front of Mohr’s congregation, with Mohr playing his guitar.

Celestial Rollercoaster

When we celebrate Christmas we think of a historical event.  The birth of Jesus happened more or less 2 000 years ago.  We count the years, we devise calendars and give names to the seasons, eras and dispensations to make sense of our earthly home where we are prisoners of time.  We name our perception – this is the past, we are now in the present and looking to the future so that we make sense of the passage of time. 

Forever and ever a line has been drawn through the ages and on that line stands the Old Rugged Cross.  The historians can talk about Common Era and BCE, again not to mention Christ, but the division remains, they cannot argue it away.  We count the first century as the years marked by the life and death of Jesus Christ.  

But God does not count our way.  He is outside of time.  He is timeless, the Ancient of Days, the Beginning with no beginning – the Source of time and the End without the end  – the Goal of time.  He sees your birth and death and life always and all the time.  He sees the Cross and the events of the First Century as if they are happening now.   

Astrophysicists and cosmologists, the likes of Albert Einstein and the Stephan Hawking, let us peep into a part of eternity.  With mind-blowing mathematics they seek to calculate the universe, using time to measure distance.

Lightyears  – a common method for measuring distance in space is to measure how far light travels in one year: known as a lightyear, which is around 9.5 trillion kilometers.

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is a space telescope which conducts infrared astronomy. As the largest optical telescope in space, its high resolution and sensitivity allow it to view objects too old, distant, or faint for the Hubble Space Telescope. This will enable investigations across many fields of astronomy and cosmology, such as observation of the first stars, the formation of the first galaxies, and detailed atmospheric characterization of potentially habitable exoplanets.

The James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s premier space science observatory.  Webb will solve mysteries in our solar system, look beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probe the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it.  Webb is an international programme led by NASA and its partners, the  ESA (European Space Agency) and the CSA (Canadian Space Agency).  

The telescope was launched on Christmas Day 2021.  Follow the pictures on the website.  It is breath-takingly beautiful.  Stare at the nebulae, the birthplace of stars, so far away that I cannot even the count the noughts of the lightyears in which the distance is measured.  Look at the ghost-like Pillars of Creation that fascinate the astrophysicists and their teams of scientists. 

We are only on the doorstep of space – looking into the past – thousands and millions of years ago when the stars started to form.  We look back in time, because we are prisoners of time.  God sees everything – past and future.  Try to get your mind around a timeless universe.

We cannot see the future, even with the most sophisticated of technology.  The future belongs to God. (James 4:13)  We ask for daily bread not tomorrow’s bread.

Then go with me to a day that marked the universe forever.  Step into the unseen – heaven – here with us when heaven came down and glory filled our earth.  

Time travel with me to the palace of Pilate, an unassuming building in Jerusalem where he unwillingly spent the weekend of the Jewish Passover.  He was there because there was trouble  – more than usual.  Pilate preferred to live in Caesarea, on the Mediterranean, in his opulent palace, specially built to catch the sea breeze and far away from the stifling heat and over-crowded streets of Jerusalem.  

It was supposed to be a very ordinary Sunday morning in the life of a Roman governor.  Pilate woke and could not shake his uneasiness about the events of Friday.  They killed the Jew, the soldiers knew what they were doing and Rome was a killing machine.  The Centurion reported that he made sure.  He stuck the spear was in his side – water and blood came out.  But the Centurion was visibly shaken – almost emotional.  Pilate was aware of  the earthquake and the darkness.  It passed.  Maybe it could be explained – a natural phenomenon – but still, it came at the moment that Jesus died.  Rumours reached hysteria about people coming out of graves and walking the streets of Jerusalem.  

Saturday was the Sabbath.  Thank God those troublesome Jews were confined to their houses by their own faith.  The soldiers were fully deployed especially around their Temple, when the shouts of shock echoed in the streets on Friday afternoon just as they killed the lambs.  Some curtain inside tore or collapsed – who will know.  Only the priests are allowed in there and most of them were outside in the bloodbath they create every Passover.  Last year the census reported that 250 000 lambs died and their blood tossed on the foundation. According to Pilate an unnecessary, stinking mess.

He is not able to control them.  A nagging fear settled in his mind.  His career was on the line and his wife in a state.  She intervened in his judgement – not like her at all.

But, the Sabbath was over and the city awakened.  He was not ready for the news.  The body of the Nazarene disappeared.  This was not possible.  His orders were clear – an almost immovable heavy stone plus the guards – Roman guards who were executed upon failure.  They would not let this happen.  The situation was completely out of hand.

He needed to know.  He almost succumbed to the urge to run to the garden grave.  Where was it anyway – somewhere in the garden of the man that came to beg for his body.  Pilate was so tired that evening.  Was it a mistake to let them have their way?  The man was no ordinary angry priest or Pharisee.  Joseph, he was called, was calm and rational and distinctly determined.  Pilate felt relieved when he agreed to a burial.  It felt like the right thing to do. Now this.  He called the centurion back.

Mary was calm and single-minded when she rose at daybreak.  Everything was ready.  She grabbed her bag and walked briskly to the garden of Joseph, where they laid the body of Jesus before sunset on Friday.  Through the trees she could see everything is wrong.  The stone was rolled away – neatly leaning against the rockface from  which the grave was chiselled.   The soldiers were gone.  She made a quick turn and ran.  She knew where they were hiding.  Breathless she banged on the door and blurted out what she found.  

Suddenly their fear disappeared.  Peter and John broke into a laughable, boyish race to reach the grave.  John stopped at the entrance. Peter – typical Peter  – ran right inside and found the burial cloths and the folded face cloth.  They ran away to talk to their brothers.  Mary was left alone.  She stood alone and wept.  She stooped to look inside the grave and saw two angels – one at the foot and one at the head of the tablet where He had lain.  They asked her why she was weeping – gosh – didn’t they KNOW?

She turned and saw the gardener.  Maybe he would know where her Jesus had gone. He asked what she was looking for.  Then she heard her name.  In the moment of recognition, his Name was spoken through her lips.  When she fell down to touch his feet as she was used to doing, He said:

Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’ ”

Almost 70 years later John, on the island of Patmos, entered the unseen and witnessed what Jesus meant by those words.  Read with me: (Revelation  4  and  5)

After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.”

Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads. And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying:

“Holy, holy, holy,
Lord God Almighty,
Who was and is and is to come!”

Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying:

11 “You are worthy, O Lord,
To receive glory and honor and power;
For You created all things,
And by Your will they exist and were created.”

And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it.

So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”

And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.

Worthy Is the Lamb

Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying:

“You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
10 And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth.”

11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice:

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
To receive power and riches and wisdom,
And strength and honor and glory and blessing!”

13 And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:

“Blessing and honor and glory and power
Be to Him who sits on the throne,
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!”

14 Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.

This is the scene in the unseen when Jesus entered heaven triumphantly after the crucifixion.  

After he ascended to his Father, Jesus appeared to the disciples.  He came through the wall and invited them to touch him.  He said He is flesh and bone. (Luke 24:39)  We would say we are flesh and blood.  Jesus never took his blood back.  His blood was shed for sin.  His body after the Resurrection was a glorified body, a heavenly body, not restricted by the earthly laws of physics.

Looking forward to the Second Coming – the First Coming is the biggest.  We have a powerful Gospel now.  We have all the answers.  There is no greater event in history ever than the Birth, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  There will never be anything bigger ever, not even the Second Coming, because it would not have been possible without the First Coming – the  Baby in the manger.   We have all the saving power of the Kingdom of God on earth to fix this mess.

Do not let the fearmongering of Apocalyptic talk or the climate-activists or any other cultural agenda bring fear into your thinking.  Focus on Kingdom-thoughts not culture-thoughts.  Apocalypse means the lifting of the veil, revelation knowledge.  It does not mean disaster, catastrophe, calamity and misfortune.  Our future is secure, and we will work until the very last minute.  We have the solution to everything right now.   He who promised is faithful.  

March into your Feast as a Christian soldier with our anthem on your lips:  Jesus saves.  It is our cry.  It is our creed.  Jesus saves.  That is why we celebrate.  Set the focus on Jesus

One thing we could do is lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us.  

Could we tell the children about this gracious Gospel that brings the message of forgiveness and gives them hope and peace, liberates them from fear to live extraordinary, purpose-driven lives?  Could we teach them about the gifts of grace and not gifts earned by being good?

Could we include some classic carols and new Christmas music about Jesus into the secular repertoire?  There’s nothing wrong with dreaming of a white Christmas, and Deck the Halls, but sing Oh Holy Night, Silent Night. Hark the Herald Angels,  Away in a manger to sing the real message through.  Instead of cluttering the feast with myths and pagan legends, teach the children to search for truth and dig deeper to find authenticity.

Could we simplify Christmas with modest and unassuming gifts, homemade and personal?  

Conclusion

God did not call you to change the world – He will do that.  He called you for your home, your close circle.  That is the Kingdom-way.  Never despise the days of small beginnings says Zechariah.  Build the wall in front of your own home, like in the days of Nehemiah (3:28) and the city, Jerusalem, the Church, will be secure.

We have the truth – the most esteemed gift in all the universe.  We have insight into the unseen, the spiritual world, the heavenlies.  We have the privilege to be born again, into the royal priesthood – the only royalty that matters.  We can live the most luxurious life on earth – a life without  fear.

In prayer we can see the face of Jesus and name our secret place Pniel, like Jacob.  Only then we can say as CS Lewis: 

“I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. 

Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?

Christmas is our opportunity to fill the Feast with content.  The substance and focus of our Feast is Jesus.

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  (Hebrews 12:1,2)

We are children of the day, siblings of the Light of the World – we call the Father of Christ Our Father. (1 Thessalonians 5:5)

We have what it takes for all the evil our  there.  We are empowered – let us empower our  Feast.

Who is our Light?

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the pre-eminence.

19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.   (Colossians  1:15-20)

And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:8-11)

Now to Him Who is able to keep you without stumbling or slipping or falling, and to present [you] unblemished (blameless and faultless) before the presence of His glory in triumphant joy and exultation [with unspeakable, ecstatic delight]—

25 To the one only God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory (splendor), majesty, might and dominion, and power and authority, before all time and now and forever (unto all the ages of eternity). Amen (so be it).

(Jude 24,25)

And now…

“Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.” ’  (Zechariah 8:23)

By the end of the First Century there were a 100 000 Greek Christians for every Jewish follower of Jesus.  

Could we celebrate Christmas in such a way that somebody will grab our sleeve and say – I see God is with you?