Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! Glory, honor and blessing, praise and thanksgiving to God for his goodness and love; and to all of you for the faithful witness and service you give to God and others. Nancy and I bless the Lord and thank you for witnessing to God’s love which we know through Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord. The first 17 verses of the Gospel According to Matthew are often ignored when reading the account of the birth of Jesus. It is understandable, since these verses are an account of the generations from Abraham through the birth of Jesus Christ. I suppose it is “boring” to read, but it is exciting to know that God is faithful to His people keeping his promises through thousands of years! The apostle Paul describes God’s faithfulness in 2 Timothy 2:11-13 “The saying is sure: If we have died with him, we shall also live with him; if we endure, we shall also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.” Entering the Advent season we celebrate the reality that Jesus Christ has come to us. We celebrate his presence with us through His Holy Spirit and look forward to the final coming of Jesus Christ in the fullness of time. Journeying by faith during this Advent season we experience the faithfulness of God’s love through the Word made flesh and the wonder of new life in the Kingdom of our God and of His Christ. We are living in an opportune time to be aware of the awesome nature of new life offered through our Lord Jesus Christ. The scripture texts we read in this season of the year tell us of people who were living in the midst of darkness, despair, turmoil, conflict, brokenness, fear and anxiety. Yet, God promises the Savior is coming to rescue, redeem, transform, renew, all who in faith choose to be born anew in Jesus Christ. Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, “Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.” But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test.” And he said, “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted.” Isaiah 7:10-16 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in travail has brought forth; then the rest of his brethren shall return to the people of Israel. And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth. Micah 5:2-4 The power and hope of “old” Simeon and Anna when they meet the baby in the temple, speaking forth the promises of God are glorious assurance to us of God’s presence and purpose no matter the circumstance! (Simeon) took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel.”… And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher; she was of a great age having lived with her husband seven years from her virginity, and as a widow till she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she gave thanks to God, and spoke of him to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. Luke 2:28-32, 36-38 Come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord. Seek God’s saving mercy, and make supplication – for God’s kingdom coming to all the world. Christ the Savior has come and empowers us to move forward in ministry; to seek and serve the least, lost, and lonely; offering them Jesus Christ! Pray for the glory of the Lord to be revealed for the salvation and deliverance of the world. Go, tell everywhere, that Jesus Christ has come! Seek the indwelling power of God’s Holy Spirit as we proclaim the love and mercy of God!
In Jesus, Pastor Paul