Thoughts on Christmas 2019:
As gently as I can and meaning no disrespect to anyone, allow me to share what some of my thoughts are this Christmas. They may differ from more traditional Christmas thinking, but it seems we are in a season that needs a fresh perspective of it all.
We celebrate Christmas with the baby Jesus in a manger, reading the story from the Gospel accounts which is a miraculous story worth reading and celebrating. But, for the most part, what we celebrate are Christmas “traditions” of trees, presents, Christmas songs, church candle-light services and a lot of stress, stress trying to keep it all intact; keep all of the traditions going, and enough presents under the tree.
Last Christmas, I couldn’t celebrate at all. I had suffered the loss of my precious 16-year-old granddaughter earlier in the year, and then the loss of my Mom, two weeks before Christmas. After her memorial services I made the choice to spend my very first Christmas completely alone. I didn’t decorate, didn’t attend the social events. Instead I got completely alone with Jesus and spent the day in a cocoon of His peace, His presence very near and it was truly one of the most peace-filled Christmases of my life. I think I experienced more of a true Christmas last year than ever before.
This year our country, and yes, our world, is in discord and chaos. Division is everywhere. The President of the United States of America has just been impeached! I have a very close friend who is battling the army of an invading host of cancer cells.
Jesus came, as the Bible tells us, to bring “Peace on earth, goodwill to men!” I once had a Jewish friend tell me that she couldn’t believe in this Messiah because He really didn’t bring peace on earth or goodwill toward men. I agreed, because this earth is actually under control of an evil entity who prowls about “like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.” He is a “liar and the father of all lies, when he lies, he speaks his native language,” which is the lie. This is the world we are living in, and more so this year than last, and will be more so next year than this. These are simply the facts. What Jesus gives in fact, is peace or rest for our “souls.” The soul is the mind, will, and emotions. What Jesus promised was “Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:28). Rest for our mind, rest for our will, rest for our emotions. I can use some of that. We can all use some of that this Christmas.
So, for me this year, I am taking baby Jesus, meek and mild, out of a manger. I am taking beaten and bloody Jesus off of the cross. I’m removing those mental images and I am choosing to fix my eyes on this Jesus—the “Lion of the Tribe of Judah!” The living, resurrected, overcoming, majestic, powerful Jesus Christ:
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.’” (John 11:25).
“… (and) declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness by the resurrection from the dead.” (Romans 1:4).
“… that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death…” (Phil. 3:10).
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…” (1 Peter 1:3).
“Grace to you and shalom from Him who is and who was and who is to come, as well as from the seven spirits who are before His throne, and from Messiah Yeshua [Jesus, the anointed One], the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood, and made us a kingdom, kohanim [priests] to His God and Father—to Him be glory and power forever! Amen! Look, He is coming with the clouds and every eye shall see Him, even those who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth shall mourn because of Him. Yes, amen!” (Rev. 1:4-7 TLV).
“’I AM the Alpha and the Omega,’ says Adonai Elohim, ‘Who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty!’” (Rev. 1:8).
“Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned, I saw seven golden menoret [candlesticks]. In the midst of the menorot, I saw One like a Son of Man, clothed in a robe down to His feet, with a golden belt wrapped around His chest. His head and His hair were white like wool, white like snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire. His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and His voice was like the roar of rushing waters. In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came forth a sharp, two-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining at full strength. When I saw Him, I fell as His feet like a dead man. But He placed His right hand on me, saying, ‘Do not be afraid! I am the First and the Last, and the One who lives. I was dead, but look—I am alive forever and ever! Moreover, I hold the keys of death and Sheol.’” (Rev. 1:12-18).
“After these things I looked and behold, a door was standing open in Heaven. And the first voice, which I heard speaking with me like a trumpet said, ‘Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things.’ Immediately I was in the Ruach [Spirit]; and behold a throne was standing in heaven, and One seated on the throne. And the One who was seated was like jasper and carnelian in appearance, and a rainbow around the throne like an emerald in appearance. … And out from the throne come flashes of lightning and rumblings and clashes of thunder—and seven torches of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God. And before the throne was something like a sea of glass, like a crystal. In the middle of the throne and around it were four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind. … They do not rest day or night, chanting, ‘Kadosh, kadosh, kadosh Adonai Elohei-Tzva’ot, asher haya v’hoveh v’yavo! Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God of Hosts, who was and who is and who is to come!’” (Rev. 4:1-8).
“Worthy are You, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, For You created all things, and because of Your will they existed and were created!” (Rev. 4:11).
“And in the midst of the throne and the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, I saw a Lamb standing, as having been slain—having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth…” (Rev. 5:6).
“They were chanting with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!’ … ‘To the One seated on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and power forever and ever!’ And I heard every creature in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea and everything in them, responding, ‘To the One seated on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and power forever and ever!’” (Rev. 5:12-13)
“After these things I looked, and behold, a vast multitude that no one could count—from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues—was standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands and crying out with a loud voice, saying ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’ And all the angels were standing around the throne, along with the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshipped God, saying, ‘Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might belong to our God forever and ever. Amen!’” (Rev. 7:9-12).
“Then I saw Heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The One riding on it is called Faithful and True, and He judges and makes war in righteousness. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and many royal crowns are on His head. He has a name written that no one knows except Himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which He is called is ‘the Word of God.’ And the armies of heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword… On His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, ‘King of kings, and Lord of lords.’’ (Rev. 19:11-16)
“Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the abyss and a great chain. He seized the dragon—the ancient serpent, who is the devil and satan—and bound him for a thousand years. … Then I saw thrones, and people sat upon them—those to whom authority to judge was given. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Yeshua (Jesus), and because of the word of God.” (Rev. 20:1-4a).
“ Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I also saw the holy city—the New Jerusalem—coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. I also heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling of God is among men, and He shall tabernacle among them. They shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them and be their God. He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more. Nor shall there be mourning or crying or pain any longer, for the former things have passed away.’ And the One seated upon the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new!’ Then He said, ‘Write, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ Then He said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will freely give from the spring of the water of life. The one who overcomes shall inherit these things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.’” (Rev. 21:1-5).
“He said to me, ‘These words are trustworthy and true! ADONAI , the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent His angel to show His servants what must happen soon. Behold, I am coming soon! How fortunate is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.’” (Rev. 22:6-7).
“’The Ruach and the bride say, “Come!’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come!’ Let the one who is thirsty come—let the one who wishes freely take the water of life! I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book. If anyone adds to them, God shall add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his share in the Tree of Life and the Holy City, which are written in this book. The One giving testimony to these things says, ‘Yes! I am coming soon!’ Amen! Come, Lord Yeshua!
“May the grace of the Lord Yeshua be with all!” (Rev. 22:17-21).
(Scripture taken from the TLV version and the NKJV version)