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“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” Isaiah 9:2
It was winter in the Judean country side. Outside the protection of city walls shepherds watched their flocks by night. Dark and cold, they bedded down for the evening never imagining that the world as they knew it would forever be changed that night. And that they (of all people) would be the first to know.
Yes, it was first to these humble shepherds that God announced his greatest gift. Which only makes sense considering it was these shepherds who were responsible for not only the flock they were caring for but also for identifying a sheep suitable for sacrifice and caring for it once it had been born.
We don’t think about that much this time of year. The purpose for which that babe lying in a manger came. But from the very beginning, the night the shepherds first received the good news and the heavenly host appeared – this baby was born to die.
Its hard for us to imagine at a time when Christmas (for most) means pretty packages tied up with bows that God’s greatest gift would be not one of pretty ribbons but one of bloody sacrifice.
Born of a virgin, Jesus came into the world for the express purpose of dying. The God of the Universe loving us so much that he robed himself in human flesh, entered human history as a helpless new born babe in order to do for us what we could not do for ourselves. For unlike Jesus, we were not born to die but to live.
Which is why it says in Isaiah –
“the people walking in darkness …. in the shadow of death … have seen a great light”.
For the shadow of death is sin …. but the light of the world is Jesus.
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” John 8:12
Do you get it? Jesus was born to die …. so that we could live!
We were born to live … (but because of sin) …. we die!
Oh, people, he is wonderful, oh, people he is good! He has no desire that we remain in death and darkness ….but rather desires that we come into his marvelous light, and live. A desire so integral to his goodness and his love that he entered time and space to make it happen. No wonder the heavenly host praised him that night … and so do we!
With Christmas just around the corner, I sometimes find it hard to focus on what its really all about. After all, Jesus really is the reason for the season. But so busy we get with wrappings and trappings that its easy to forget that God’s greatest gift needs no wrapping or packing at all …. just the opening of our hearts.
Thankfully, God reminded me of this earlier today through the words to a beautiful worship song which begins like this –
” light of the world, you stepped down in to darkness, open my eyes let me see”
…. and I was moved anew by God’s goodness and his grace …. and the incredible gift, the incomparable gift that he gave of himself.
For those of you who would like to join me in worshiping God through this beautiful song, you can find it below ....
And, as always ….
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem they shall prosper who love thee” Psalm 122:6
Watching and waiting with YOU for the soon return of Jesus!
1Thessalonians 5:16 -18 Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. KJV
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