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“See how very much our Father loves us,
for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!
But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children
because they don’t know him.
1 John 3:1
A King had been prophesied about at the time of David
that would come from the line of David . .
a King who would put to end all of Israel’s troubles . .
but trouble would come calling in more ways than one can imagine.
Though David’s son Solomon built the Temple,
his heart was divided when it came to spiritual matters and in the same way,
the Kingdom would become divided and become the puppet
to emerging and rivaling powers over hundreds of years,
Just think about Jerusalem – the Holy City –
it’s very name means “city of peace” – yet, Jerusalem has been the most embattled
and captured city in all history, having been pillaged, ravished, burned
and destroyed more than 27 times.
While trouble would continue to dominate the landscape of Jewish history,
God would go silent – no more prophets, no word from heaven –
this would describe the final 400 years before the birth of Christ
in an Roman-occupied country.
When angels announced the birth of the Savior,
it was almost like the hope of King David’s assertion
“The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help.
He rescues them from all their troubles.” in Psalm 34 was overrun
by a world filled with violence and ceaseless conflict.
But this Savior didn’t put to bed
all the political and social-economic troubles of His day,
He came to deal with a much more ominous enemy:
death and forever separation from God, the sentence that hung over all humanity.
He proved Himself to be the Savior once and for all by destroying death
and rising on the third day . . only to say things that troubled the hearts
of those who had followed Him like never before.
Jesus spoke of a future where His followers would be hated
on account of His name and nations would rise up against nation
and famines, earthquakes and tragedy would dominate the day,
but nothing was more troubling than these simple words . . “I am going away”.
This would strike fear into the hearts of Jesus’ followers like little else could . .
but then came these reassuring words . .
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled.
Trust in God, and trust also in me.
There is more than enough room in my Father’s home.
If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? . .
I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” (John 14)
And for good measure . .
“Heaven and earth will pass away,
but my words will never pass away.” (Matthew 24)
Sadly, we are surrounded by a culture, and in many cases a church,
that attempts to squeeze satisfaction in this world that is not there to be had . .
that desire is rehearsed countless times over by sentimental lyrics like,
“Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
let your heart be light, from now on our troubles will be out of sight.”
Maybe this Christmas you are done trying to conjure up a fantasy life
where we create heaven on a very broken earth . . maybe it’s time
to dispense with believing for a miracle under your tree or on 34th Street . .
maybe it’s time to accept an invitation that is better than silver and gold . .
an invitation to be a part of a forever family that goes like this ..
You see, it is about accepting the One whose name is Jesus . .
and coming to terms with this timeless truth . .
receiving is believing.
“Father, I am so thankful today that You fulfill the desires
of those who trust You; You hear our cry and save us. Amen”
How is God encouraging you today?