Tuesday, December 22, 2015

"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 an 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 500 years before the birth of Christ and rebuilt a testament to God’s glory… the Holy Temple of God.

“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, apathetic. Sadly, it is possible to treat the incarnation of Christ, “Emmanuel... God with us”, with only casual interest.

In exactly 72 hours, I will stir from my sleep and remember what moment it is... my first Christmas in 21 years without my beloved Adonica. Both joy and sorrow will engulf my soul. By mid-morning on the best day of the year, my home will be filled with my children, grandchildren, and in-laws. Stockings will pour forth their treasures, colorful wrapping and ribbons will fly, gleeful sounds and delicious smells will fill my house. We will light a beautiful white candle in memory of our wife and mother and the people I love the most will spend 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 the same truth centuries earlier. Matthew centuries later...

“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