Luke 2:14, Zechariah
Steve Gambill reflects on the true reason for the season.
Merry Christmas to you, your family and friends! Christmas...that incredible time of year celebrating Jesus Christ's birth. A new beginning for humanity.
'Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth peace to those on whom His favour rests.' (Luke 2:14)
Have you heard of the 'Elf on the Shelf'? If you're not familiar with what that is, it's like a game of hide and seek, where at night parents hide a little Christmas toy elf in a sweetie jar, or on the Christmas tree, and in the morning the kids wake up and search the house until they find it.
One recent morning my wife hid the elf on a light fitting. When one of the children turned the light on, that little elf got more than he bargained for, as his little bum burned, much to the amusement of the kids. Although this little incident was a bit of fun, how sad would it be if Christmas were only about the marketing, commerciality and a bit of present giving? There is so much more to Christmas than the marketing frenzy that fills the shops and the adverts that occupy TV screens.
For every person, regardless of his or her ethnic origin or economic status, Christmas is about heaven's help sent in Jesus. When so many people throughout the earth desperately need peace; from war torn and ravaged Syria, or those forgotten in prisons or elderly care homes, or those fighting sickness for their survival in hospitals, Jesus is heaven's help made flesh.
This help from heaven, hidden in the form of a new-born baby, represents a new beginning. A beginning so powerful, redefining eternity as God took on the flesh of humanity. Divinity and humanity combine in a humble manger.
The extraordinary occurrence of Jesus, was hidden by the ordinary nature of being born in a manger and therefore overlooked by so many, but not by you. I believe that when you received Jesus, you received heaven's help for yourself; you received a new beginning. Yes a new beginning for you, but also for God to work through you to others, so that they too may experience a new beginning.
When Jesus was born the angels declared, 'Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favour rests.' That word favour is the Greek word 'eudokia', which means delight, pleased & kindness. In other words, God takes delight and is pleased with you.
God's incredible favour is so vast, so good and so great that it is too much to keep to ourselves. God's favour is fresh and ever flowing from God as the source, meaning that His favour will never run out. What that means is that we can continue to pour that favour through our lives to others.
The Prophet Zechariah in chapter 2:8 says, 'He who touches you, touches the apple of His eye'.
God takes extreme delight in you and is pleased with you. You are the apple of God's eye. He, who touches you, touches the apple of God's eye. You may not always feel like God's favour is on you, but feelings can sometimes lie. Feelings don't change the reality of how much God loves and cares about you.
I believe the devil hates the favour of God on people. John 10:10 states that the devil, 'Comes to steal, kill & destroy.' The violence and crime in the world is evidence that the devil's schemes are at work, but according to Zechariah 2:8, when the enemy touches you, he touches the apple of God's eye. Because of Jesus coming to earth, to quote an old song, 'To Hell with the Devil'. The devil has no authority or rights over you any longer. Yet there is still so much hell on earth and room for the Kingdom of God to increase and grow.
I believe it is time to put aside the denominational differences that so easily divide, and unite as the body of Christ to fight the real enemy, the devil. It is time to stop the fight with the church down the street, they are not the enemy. It is time to forgive any offence against your brother or sister, they are not the enemy. It is time to in prayer fight the evil of cancer and other illnesses that claim so many young lives before their time. It is time to unite against vicious acts that are destroying lives around the globe and bring peace not hatred. It is time to fight the injustice of poverty, homelessness and human trafficking. It is time to unite to stop the destruction and instead to construct peace and reconciliation.
The book of Zechariah is a great book to study at Christmas time. It is incredible as it prophesies Jesus so clearly. Here hidden in the pages of this prophet, hundreds of years before Jesus was born in Bethlehem, we can discover incredible prophesies that Jesus would be the King of Kings (Zech 14:9). That Jesus would ride in one day to Jerusalem on a donkey (Zech 9:9). That Jesus would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver (Zech 11:12). That Jesus would be pierced and crucified (Zech 12:10). Zechariah's name means 'He Remembers'.
I pray that you would remember the favour that God has bestowed on you because of Jesus.
Are there any areas in your life that you would like to see greater favour in? Are there people that you know that you could unite with to make a greater difference? Are you ready to be heaven's help to others?
Take a few moments to pray to ask the Holy Spirit for His help to make greater glory come to others this Christmas.
Thank you for all you do, for all you are and for all you will go on to become in the future.
Much love in Christ and a huge Merry Christmas!The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
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