December 1, 2019- December 24, 2019
December 1, 2019
The people of Israel had been waiting for Messiah for generations. They knew He was coming because God had promised it. They knew He would come from the line of David and would be a King. And they knew He would deliver His people. But they did not know how…or when. By the time of the birth of Jesus, Israel’s glory days had passed. They had served time in exile because of their sin and failure to trust God. Now they were subject to Rome and unable to govern themselves. The chosen people of God were in darkness. But they remembered the promise, and so can we. We are also among God’s chosen and darkness often rules our lives. But there is hope coming. The Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world is coming. And He is here! There is hope!
Gabriel told Zechariah that his son John was coming to bring change. He would right wrongs, change hearts, and prepare the people for someone greater than himself…the Messiah of God. As we are preparing for the celebration of the coming of Jesus in the manger of Bethlehem, what change do we need for our own lives? Do we seek restoration in relationships? Do we have problems with anger and resentment? Do we think we are better than others or do we think of ourselves as worthless? The fact is, we need change just as much as the world did in Jesus’ day and there is good news! The birth of Jesus promises us the change we seek if we seek it in Him.
The angel told Joseph that Jesus would “Save the people from their sins.” Sin meant separation from God and in their culture the only way to be restored was to offer the right sacrifices and live the right laws. But it was only temporary, as more sacrifices would be needed for sins committed. In the coming of the Messiah we have two great gifts…one is freedom from the penalty of our sins and the other is strength beyond ourselves to overcome the lure of sin and grow in our obedience and love for God.
Gabriel came to Mary and told her she was going to bear a son…an not just any boy, but one who would be the Son of God, the great King of Israel, who’s kingdom would never end. That is a promise that the One coming into the world would be stronger than any other ruler; any other hope; any other leader. Do we not look for strength in our own world? We want leaders with clear vision and a decisive nature. We want someone to offer protection and fairness in our lives. Like Herbert Hoover promised in his presidential campaign of 1928, we want someone to make sure we get “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.” But then came 1929. The coming of the Messiah is the strength we are looking for.
The most amazing gift of all is that God came to live among us…to know who we are and what we feel and to offer us the light of His presence in the darkness of our lives. This Christmas, remember that His light is reflected in us and we are the ones to offer that light to others.