'Tis the season
I rode with my daughter and granddaughter up to my son’s home just outside of Chambersburg, Pa. yesterday for our family’s Christmas celebration. You now, to exchange gifts, share good food and fellowship along with my daughter-in-law’s mom, her husband and her two sisters. I always come home from these ‘gatherings (especially at Christmas) with more stuff than I need, but nonetheless enjoy things like ‘buckeyes’, cookies and fudge. What are ‘buckeyes’ you ask? They are the original Reese’s Cup, peanut butter surrounded in a half shell of milk chocolate. And yes, they do look a bit like eyes but I must admit I’ve never asked where the ‘buck’ comes from, too busy poppin’ ‘em in my mouth (mmmmmm).
As my son, his wife and my three grandsons enjoy relaxing at their home today I’m going over to my daughter’s later today to enjoy a ‘traditional’ spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread dinner. Spaghetti & meatballs? Traditional? Hey, my last name has Germanic and English roots but as my dad used to say our heritage is Heinz 57 variety so there just may be a Luigi or a Sophia somewhere in the woodpile. Woodpile? Oh, guess I forgot to mention my dad’s roots go back to southeastern West Virginia, up in the mountains.
This AM NBC had a Cardinal from New York explaining the ‘real reason for the season’ and he did a pretty good job considering the limited time he had. He asked if he could start back in the Garden of Eden but the Hostess, Savannah, politely smiled and laughed indicating probably not a good idea.
I need to mention this one last thing. The church my son & his family attend had their annual Christmas offering, what is now almost two weeks ago. They used a ‘real’ infant for the baby Jesus and (PTL) for the first time in my life I saw somebody use, for they actually used a toddler (@2 yrs. old) for Jesus in the scene when the magi come to town!
All of this brings me to my point – “Tis the Season’. The Cardinal mentioned that God gave his greatest gift to man by giving us His Son as the infant Jesus. I’ll add that the magi bought gifts to the young child Jesus as they payed homage to the coming of his kingship and his kingdom,
As we grow in Christ Jesus, we come to know that Jesus is the only ‘Begotten Son’ of the Father because God took all that He ever said (His Word) and put it into the womb of a young, faithful Jewish girl and brought the totality of who God is into this world in physical form (the flesh, John 1). In this God began the fulfillment of what He promised Adam and Eve so long ago in the Garden where He told Satan that there would put enmity (hostility or hatred) between his seed and the woman’s seed and even though Satan’s seed might bruise the heel of the woman’s seed, the woman’s seed would bruise Satan’s seed head (Gen. 3:15). The word used here for ‘bruise ‘ is the Hebrew word ‘shuwph’ which means to bruise, break or cover (as in overwhelm). This is not just a promise to man (via Adam & Eve) but a prophecy of the Father’s triumph over evil. With the birth of Jesus as the beginning of the fulfillment of this prophecy. This was echoed by a certain Simeon who in part prophesied (Luke 2:34-35) “the child is set for the fall and the rising again of many in Israel and for a sign which shall be spoken against. ‘indeed a sword shall pierce through your own soul that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed’ (Heb. 4:12).
Now we know that Jesus grew, waxed strong in spirit and God’s grace was upon Him (Luke 2:40) so the ‘gift of God’ to us (man) also showed us how to live (through His ministry) reaffirming the Father’s promise to us with His Words.
When Jesus’ time was come they did take Him to the cross and crucified Him where He died shedding precious blood to cleanse us of our sins, unrighteousness (Luke 22 & 23). Yet the gift and the promise don’t end here for on the third day Jesus rose from the grave (Luke 24) – alive and well, in the flesh and shared more about the kingdom of God with His disciples for the next forty days (Acts 1:3). But the gift and the promise don’t stop here for at the end of those forty days Jesus ascended back to heaven (from whence He came, Acts 1:9) and is seated at the right hand (power & authority, Rom. 8:34) of the Father. But the gift and the promise don’t stop here because He is coming back for us so we can be with the Father through Him forever (Acts 1:11).
So ‘tis the season to remember that through our faith, belief and confession of Jesus Christ that He is coming back for us. That He rose from the grave and walked and taught His disciples more about the kingdom of heaven and so He could ascend into heaven completing the task of reuniting ‘us’ with the Father. He died on the cross fulfilling the Law’s requirement for death as the required punishment for sin (in our place). That He lived, walked and talked amongst man giving us an example so we could realize what God expects from us. He was born in a manger, under the Law (that is human) so He could redeem us from the curse of the Law (death). He is the greatest gift God could ever have given to us (man) so that He (the Father) could once again enjoy fellowship with us as He once had with Adam & Eve in the garden before the fall.
‘TIS THE SEASON
To relish His great mercy
To enjoy fellowship with the One who has created all that is
To give Him thanksgiving, praise and glory for all the He is and has done (for us)
To live in His love
Because He first loves us
‘Tis the season to remember what a mighty thing Father has done though the ‘least’ (a baby) for us