Tuesday, December 26, 2017

"Emmanuel"

Haggai 1.13-14 NKJV
 
“Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, spoke the Lord’s message to the people, saying, ‘I am with you, says the Lord.’ So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God,…”


A minor prophet made a major pronouncement: “I am with you, says the Lord.” His words seared the conscience, kindled action, and fueled a movement. Haggai’s hearers refused to dawdle. Gov. Zerubbabel and Rev. Joshua’s hearts were tender and quick to heed “the Lord’s messenger.” “The Lord stirred up the spirit” of the leaders and “all the remnant of the people.” Under the inspired preaching of prophets Haggai and Zechariah an entire community of faith rose to the sacred occasion about five hundred years before the birth of Christ and rebuilt a testament to God’s glory… the Holy Temple of God.

“Then Haggai...spoke the Lord’s message... 

‘I am with you, says the Lord.’ 

“So the Jewish elders continued their work, and they were
greatly encouraged by the preaching of the prophets Haggai and
Zechariah.... The Temple was finally finished.”
Ezra 6:14-15 NLT

What great things might I accomplish if I fully grasped in my soul the prophetic truth of Christmas... God is with me? I’ve heard and read the birth narratives of Christ from the gospels of Matthew and Luke hundreds of times, several times this past week already. I could easily grow cavalier, indifferent, and apathetic. Sadly, it is possible to treat the incarnation of Christ, “Emmanuel... God with us,” with only casual interest.

Twenty-four hours ago, I stirred from my sleep and remembered what moment it was... my third Christmas in twenty-three years without my beloved Adonica. Both joy and sorrow engulfed my soul. By mid-day on the best day of the year, my youngest children, Robert and Rachel, and I were driving to my daughter’s home in Eugene. Her house was alive with my grown children, grandchildren, and in-laws. Stockings poured forth their treasures, colorful wrapping and ribbons flew everywhere, gleeful sounds and delicious smells filled the air. We acknowledged the memory of our wife and mother at a quiet prayer before dinner and I spent the day reawakening old memories and making new ones. 

In this spirit of excited anticipation, I must pause to deeply hear Haggai’s voice which “spoke the Lord’s message to the people, saying, ‘I am with you, says the Lord.’” Isaiah recorded this very same truth centuries before Haggai, and Matthew made the identical promise centuries after the Haggai...

“All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through
the prophet: “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall
name him Emmanuel,” which means, ‘God is with us.
Matthew 1.22-23 NRSV (from Isaiah 7.14)

Jesus Christ is with us! It is my greatest Christmas season ever!
_____________________

I found the beautiful painting of Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus at the top of this post on the Photo Bucket website by "God's Cowboy" (http://media.photobucket.com/image/painting%20of%20mary%20joseph%20and%20jesus/GodsCowboy/Religious%20Pictures/MaryJosephandthebabyJesus.jpg).

2 comments:

Kelly's Ideas said...

the gift that gives all year long.
Merry Christmas to you my brother in Christ.

Kelly

Dave Scriven said...

Thanks Kelly