GNB 175

December 16, 2022 (The sixth day of the third week of Advent 2022)

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE REFERENCE:

“John replied, ‘A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, I am not the Christ, but am sent ahead of Him. The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom stands and listens for him, and is overjoyed to hear the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must increase; I must decrease.’” (John 3.27-30)

TODAY’S REFLECTION:

The God who dwells within us makes us His people!

The God who dwells within us reveals Himself in Word and Action!

The God who dwells within us will not forsake His Word of Promise!

I have heard it said about celebrating the birth of Jesus: “There may well be a reason we are not given the birthdate of Jesus lest it become another source of the misappropriated worship of self. What is important is that we celebrate the fact that Jesus was born in Bethlehem to a virgin committed to serving the will of God with her own life and accepted by a man who was faithful enough to teach him that God was His Father. It is a truth that should be celebrated every day because it tells the world, that for its sake, this man was born to take away the sting of death and the legacy of sin.”

Have we ever stopped to consider why Constantine declared the 25th of December as the day of celebrating the birth of Jesus? It most certainly wasn’t because he knew nor did any scholars who taught during the 340 years after the birth of Jesus know. What was known by those who were proclaimed believers in Christ as “the way, the truth and the life” for their own lives was that the world had gone too far in the wrong direction. Constantine’s declaration was a prophetic retaking of all that which had been overtaken by the world. Christianity was intended to transform life and living back into its original purpose and design. The very presence of Jesus, the Word made flesh, restored to the world the image of humanity as God intended, created, blessed and promised one day to redeem. Jesus was the fulfillment of that promise. Even His ministry during those three years leading up to His sacrificial death on a cross as an atonement for our sin was never about restoring Him back to Heaven. That was God’s blessing on Jesus by faith. Rather His ministry was about helping us to see who it is that we were always intended to be. We were made in His image. We were conceived by His Spirit. We were redeemed from the influx of sin which burdened our lives through baptism by water (remembering Noah and the flood) and by fire (remembering the promise of justice according to spirit and truth.) We were empowered by faith, hope and love to be a priesthood of all believers as disciples sent out into the world to make disciples in and of all nations. We are left with the commissioning of His presence which endures with us in our daily “walk the walk and talk the talk” of teaching “them” all He has commanded us. That presence is promised to be with us and for us until the close of this age, the Age of the Church. This age leads to the age yet to come where Jesus returns to claim His people as a groom returns to take his bride to dwell with him forever. All of that is Immanuel.

So, in “light” of the knowledge that within the Roman Empire December 25th was a day dedicated to affirming Saturn (known as the god of agriculture), Mithra (known as the god of light) and Nimrod (known as the god against God or Ba’al and Molech), Constantine made the decision to take back this day which was perverted by faithlessness and celebrate it as a day to remember that Jesus the Christ was born as the Only Son of God and Man. In the hope of bringing true light to a dark and weary world, Constantine sought to replace despair with a great joy. While it was not the intent of confirming December 25th as the true birthdate of Jesus of Nazareth, there is little doubt that his purpose was to let the truth of Jesus’ life overcome the lie that other gods were as important if not greater to the One God revealed perfectly in Jesus. December 25th is after all one day out of 365 in a year. We must remember that all these days were made by God and set in place for His purposes. The sorrow comes in that these days which had made were being relinquished by God-fearers to pagan practices (including other aspects of the Judeo-Christian culture and climate.) In “their” weakness, the sin-festation of the world proved to be the plague which Satan desired in his hope to lead an anti-God worldview to dominate and overcome the message of the faithful to God. It is time to take back every day for the glory of God and the welfare of all people by speaking the truth in love and boldness. We are not meant to be “equally” yoked with the world. We are intended to be “equally” yoked with Christ and the Word which is perfectly fitted for us to cultivate the earth and bring forth the “good life” as purposed and designed by God. If we practice without explanation and declaration of “the Way, the Truth and the Life” then we are blind guides. Our call in this season and in every season is to become messengers of God into all the world declaring in the name of Christ: Repent, Restore, Redeem, Reconcile and Rejoice! What great gifts we have been given to share with the world! My question would be in reflection: R we willing to do so or shall we continue to live dual lives straddling the fence and propelling us to a place worse than nowhere? Isn’t it time for Immanuel and let God truly be our God?

TODAY’S PRAYER:

Father, You are our God and Jesus is Your only begotten Son who is our Savior and Lord. We praise Your name out of hearts overflowing with gratitude. We will let that joy spill over onto everything we say and do so that glory be given to You in Jesus’ name. AMEN.

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