+ In Nomine Jesu +
"Unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger."
God ways, as the Bible says, are "not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts." We've all experienced frustration with that very principle, praying, "Thy will be done," while our hearts yearn to change God's ways, or, at the very least, to understand them. Jacob wrestled with God at a place he later named "Penuel," meaning "the face of God." Moses wanted someone else to go to Egypt to set the Israelites free because he was slow of speech. Jeremiah wept because even though he preached what God gave him to preach the pews weren't full and people didn't listen to what he had to say. Naaman, the Syrian, his body infested with leprosy, wanted to cleanse himself in one of the rivers of his homeland, but, God said, dip yourself seven times in the Jordan River and you will be cleansed.
God was coming into the world. He had promised! The head of the serpent would be crushed by the seed of the woman. Israel waited, always wondering if the next male child would be the one to fulfill God's promise. The chilling words of Genesis 5 rang out through the Jerusalem hills for two millennia…"and the child died!" "And he died!"
Israel's hope and dreams were crushed year after year, child after child. King Herod's slaughter of the little boys in Jerusalem, the day of the Holy Innocents that we commemorate on December 28, was another blow to Israel's hopes. "A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more."
The skeptic would say that these are all reasons to shut God out of your life! If God can't be found in His glory and majesty, shouldn't we question whether or not He actually exists!? Why though, would we expect God to condescend to our wishes? God was faithful to Moses, though Moses thought He had made a mistake in choosing him. He strengthened Jacob, even though He did it through a struggle. He cleansed Naaman in the Jordan River, though Naaman thought God's plan was ridiculous.
On this most Holy Day, we are given yet another one of those simple signs of God's grace and mercy, a sign frankly that boggles our mind, leaving us in awe of God's ways. A child would be born in the city of David. Yeah, you remember David, don't you, a sinner, in desperate need of God's grace and forgiveness?
A child would be born in the city of David and He would be the Christ of God, the fulfillment of Israel's hopes and dreams. Wonder of wonders…God, who holds the universe together by His might and strength, would be found lying in a manger, cooing at the sounds of Mary and Joseph's voice. He wouldn't be surrounded by dignitaries or by heads of states, but, by oxen and cattle. "Infant holy, infant lowly, for His bed a cattle stall; Oxen lowing, little knowing, Christ, the child, is Lord of all. Swiftly winging, Angels singing, bells are ringing, Tidings bringing, Christ , the child, is Lord of all."
While some were disappointed that God chose such a birth, He has, nonetheless, by the power of His Word, convinced us that this Child is Christ, the King. Our hopes and dreams are fulfilled in Him. The Child of such a humble birth would likewise die a humble death. Surrounded by criminals, still holding the universe together by His might and strength, He could succumb to our death that we might have His life.
As much as our hearts still cry out from time to time at the mystery of God's ways, we, nonetheless, consider His birth, His life, death and resurrection, and we rejoice in such signs of God's love for us. "Unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ, the Lord. And this will be a sign for you; you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.
"Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, Born this happy morning;
Jesus, to Thee be glory given!
Word of the Father, Now in flesh appearing
O Come, let us adore Him,
Christ, the Lord!"
The peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.
+ Soli Deo Gloria +
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