Thursday, November 7, 2013

"A Great Light"

          Many years ago in a small nation that was composed of a once nomadic people, a voice rang out declaring hope and good news.  This people who walked in spiritual and emotional darkness were promised that they would experience a great light.
            The message was spoken in the name and authority of the Sovereign God of all creation, the one God, Lord and Shepherd of Israel.  The glory of these marvelous words echoed and resounded among the people, “For to us a child is to be born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder, and His name will be called ‘Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.’”
            Through this promise of a messianic King, hope was offered to all who heard.  They were encouraged that God’s grace and mercy would come upon them.  They were strengthened to face and endure their struggle, knowing that God had not abandoned them.   
            Years and centuries passed, and the generations held on to God’s promise of the light of salvation that would free them and all humanity from the darkness.  Finally in an obscure village in a backward part of the evolving Roman Empire, a child was born.  The young mother had been told by a divine messenger that the baby within her womb was to be called Jesus, Yeshua, Savior.  Furthermore, the messenger declared, “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and His kingdom will be everlasting.”
            The promised holy child was finally a reality.  However, this child of God’s Light was born into the world in a lowly manger, hidden in the bowels of an obscure village.  The only announcement of the birth was heralded to a band of shepherds watching over their sheep on a hillside outside the small village.  Little other notice was taken of the child until two years later upon the arrival of wise men from the East seeking out the “new born king of the Jews.”
            The ruling king of the region took notice only of the information shared with him by the wise men, because he was eager not to lose his control and status to some young competitor.  He failed to recognize the possibilities of God’s promise fulfilled in his kingdom. With lack of insight, the king decreed that all male children two years old or under would be slaughtered.  Because of their lack of notoriety the young mother, her husband, and the child were able to quietly slip out from the village and flee their homeland and the imminent disaster. 
            Once the king died the family was eventually able to make their return to their home.  In the next years the child grew and was raised as a carpenter’s son, by His mother’s husband.  Nearly thirty years, old, He started to preach encouraging His people to humble themselves before God.  He only traveled within the three years of his ministry to a few towns and villages proclaiming God’s message of redemption.  What little notoriety He received caused the powers of the state to turn against Him, sentencing Him to death as a threat to the religious and political systems.  God’s fulfilled promise of Light was seemingly extinguished by the fearful who condemned Him to a shameful execution.  The Light ridiculed and rejected, now dead and buried.
            As we enter into this time of year where we celebrate God’s promise fulfilled in the child born in the manager, let us remember that the story does not end with the birth nor with the death of this anointed One.  Today the world of six billion people is still affected by this simple, yet, complex figure who entered time almost unnoticed.  The story has not diminished in its power.  The message still carries with it hope and excitement.  For to us and all of humanity, God’s promise has been fulfilled.  A child was born who brought within Him the Light of God’s salvation to our world of darkness.  Through His death we are redeemed.  Furthermore, through the mystery and glory of His resurrection from the dead, and His ascension into heaven, we are assured of God’s power and grace. 
            Rejoice, for God has shown His faithfulness and steadfast love by giving us a true reason to celebrate.  The great Light has come and is still shinning in our world!
In the Love of Jesus the Messiah, God’s fulfilled promise,

No comments: