Our gift card offer through December 24, 2019 is at the end of this blog.
It’s hard to imagine a world without Christmas. Marked by generosity and charitable acts of kindness, fresh scented pine trees, colorful holiday lights, festive gatherings and joyful carols that never grow old, this truly is a most wonderful time of the year. Yet, very soon after the New Year, the novelty quietly evaporates and retailers restock their shelves for Valentine’s Day and then Easter. Then as Spring, Summer and Fall pass, we look forward to the next new season.
The very first Christmas choir featured a celestial host delivering “good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord …Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:10-11, 14, NKJV)
Remarkably, some seven hundred years earlier, the prophet Isaiah had also declared His revelations from God: “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end… ” (Isaiah 9:6-7, NKJV)
What Isaiah spoke a few chapters later (Chapter 53) shows us that even he was skeptical that anyone would believe the subject of his subsequent visions was the same mighty Prince of Peace he had spoken of earlier: “Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” (vs. 1)
Throughout Scripture, the “arm of the Lord” is seen as symbolic of His strength and might to deliver and to protect and to heal. But when this “arm” was gifted to mankind as a Baby and grew up as a tender plant (shoot), as a root out of dry ground, He was no longer recognized as a symbol of valor. He was led as a Lamb to the slaughter, to bear our sins, be bruised for our iniquities, to carry our sorrows, and to bear the chastisement for our Peace.
These aren’t exactly the fighting words you would expect to be used to describe a champion, the Christ, the long anticipated Messiah. Quite the opposite! Isaiah even prophesied about how men would respond to Jesus. “When we see him, he has no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected by men. A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from him. ” (vs. 2-3)
John chapter 12 echoes Isaiah. Jesus spoke of himself as a seed dying, and being lifted up (crucified) (vs. 24, 32). Despite His amazing signs and miracles which drew great crowds, many still questioned who He was. They had something else in mind, and He didn’t fit the bill. They saw Jesus work the “arm of the Lord” but failed to recognize Him as the Lord.
Similarly, if we only esteem Him for what He did for us two thousand years ago, but not daily as our Bread from heaven, we may not fully appreciate the Gift. We may treat Him like a present under a Christmas tree, used and enjoyed for the season, but easily set aside when our eye spots something newer, shinier or more captivating.
This is why the Lord is constantly revealing Himself in this earth so that we may know Him. As we grow in our knowledge of Him, we will recognize Him. Not only in various passages of Scripture or through prophetic words, but also when He visits through dreams and visions. We will be able to see Him in times of joy and gladness and victories when His arm looks strong, but also in our times of weakness or sorrow.
Unto us a Son is given. He is the Gift. He is the arm of the Lord… revealed.
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