The Twelve Days of Christmas – Day Seven

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, seven swans a swimming…
The seven swans represent the seven I AM statements of Jesus found in the gospel of John:
And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst (John 6:35 NKJV). [Note that Jesus was born in the city of Bethlehem, which in Hebrew means, the house of bread.]
Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12 NKJV).
I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture (John 10:9 NKJV).
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep” (John 10:11 NKJV).
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26 NKJV).
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6 NKJV).
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 NKJV).
Jesus is:
  • The Bread of Life
  • The Light of the World
  • The Door to green pastures
  • The Good Shepherd
  • The Resurrection and the Life
  • The Way, the Truth and the Life
  • The True Vine
The water upon which the swans swim represents the seven attributes of the Holy Spirit:
There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse,
And a Branch shall grow out of his roots.
 The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him,
The Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The Spirit of counsel and might,
The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:1-2 NKJV).
The Holy Spirit is:
  • The Spirit of the Lord
  • The Spirit of Wisdom
  • The Spirit of Understanding
  • The Spirit of Counsel
  • The Spirit of Might
  • The Spirit of Knowledge
  • The Spirit of the fear of the Lord
The seven swans a’swimming can also represent the seven churches in the Book of Revelation chapters 2-3, which existed in what is now Turkey during the first century AD; and can also be seen as spanning the two-thousand year church age, from Christ’s  triumphal entry into Jerusalem, up to the present day:
The seven churches are:
  • Ephesus
  • Smyrna   
  • Pergamos
  • Thyatira  
  • Sardis  
  • Philadelphia
  • Laodicea  
The Church is the Body of Christ, and his Bride, and we are to act as his ambassadors on earth:
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish (Ephesians 5:25-27 ESV).
 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20-21 NLT).

Humble, I’m Called

In the beginning God created heavens and earth, and made a promise of Messiah's birth,

Because the people that He had made chose to sin, a price had to be paid. (Genesis 1-3)

And through the lives  of others we'd see how God would show what would come to be.

He sometimes even used a beast such as I, lowly and humble, the least.

Abraham saddled my back and carried his only, trusting that God would not leave him lonely. (Genesis 22:3)

Ishmael was called a wild donkey of a man, yet even the Lord cared for Him. (Genesis 6:12, Psalm 104:10-11)

I carried some grain for Joseph's brothers to bring food through the famine for their father Jacob and others. (Genesis 42)

Out of struggles and plagues and Egypt we came, and through Passover, even I am redeemed by the Lamb. (Exodus 1-15, 13:13, 34:20)

The Lord opened my mouth to warn Balaam, my master from impending doom and sudden disaster. (Numbers 22:28-31)

 

I followed Joshua into the Promised Land and witnessed many a miracle through God's hand. (Joshua)

I saw defeat and victory of the foolish and wise, sadly people did what was right in their own eyes. (Judges)

Through it all God heard the cries of the faithful and used the weak and the strong to turn the tables.

With a jawbone of a donkey, Samson used Yahweh's strength to bring down an enemy seemingly endless in length. (Judges 15:15-17)

Samuel said, "Here am I, Lord" from his youth, to listen to God and speak prophetic truth. (1&2 Samuel)

Kish sent oblivious Saul to search for us, and was anointed as King for Israel's mistrust. (1 Samuel 8-31)

I served David and other kings, evil and good, and Israel fell captive as the prophets said they would.

Prophets said I was more loyal than Israel, the nation, and would be privileged to carry the true King of Salvation. (Isaiah 1:3, Zechariah 9:9, Matthew 21:2,5)

I carried His mother to Bethlehem, to bring peace and joy to the earth, through Him. (Isaiah 7:14, Luke 2, Matthew 1:23)

I carried Lord Yeshua to Jerusalem so that He might become the Passover Lamb. (Mark 11:1-10, John 1:29)

Who gave His life willingly once and for all, bringing freedom from sin and hell to all who fall. (Romans 3:23-25)

It is told that I am not as strong as some, but His burden is light and He has overcome, (Deuteronomy 22:10, Matthew 11:30, John 16:33)

We're to love and speak and carry His Word until everyone in the world has heard. (Matthew 28:19, John 13:34-35, Acts 1:8)

You might think that you are unqualified to tell the gospel far and wide, (Exodus 3:1-4:17)

He will come again as Faithful and True, when He knocks on the door, we must let Him through. (Revelation 3:20-21)

Remember this lowly servant who brays, and God will use you through the End of Days.

The day and hour we do not know, but be ready, the signs will surely show. (Matthew 24-25)

Like Balaam's donkey, humble, we're called to shine the light of the world to all. (Matthew 5:14-16)

 

Follow the like below to watch this cute video about Balaam and his Donkey:

http://Numbers 22 Balaam's Donkey Bible Video For Kids

Views on Endtime prophecy vary, but it is good food for thought to listen to what these scholars have to say and compare it to scripture as good Bereans would. Irvin Baxter has an interesting perspective.

Understanding the Endtime by Irvin Baxter

 

 

The Twelve Days of Christmas – Day Six

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, six geese a’laying…
These six geese and their eggs can be understood to represent the six days of creation, the six days of the week that God has ordained for work, and the six thousand years of God’s redemption timeline, from the fall of man until the return of Christ to reign for one thousand years in his millennial kingdom.
On the sixth day of creation, God created man, and all the creatures that move upon the earth:
 Then God said, “Let the earth produce every sort of animal, each producing offspring of the same kind—livestock, small animals that scurry along the ground, and wild animals.” And that is what happened. God made all sorts of wild animals, livestock, and small animals, each able to produce offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good.
 Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”
So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
 Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”
 Then God said, “Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food. And I have given every green plant as food for all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and the small animals that scurry along the ground—everything that has life.” And that is what happened.
Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good! And evening passed and morning came, marking the sixth day (Genesis 1:24-31 ESV).
Did you know that Jesus hung on the cross for six hours? Mark 15:25 says, “And it was the third hour when they crucified him” (ESV); the third hour is nine am. Matthew 27:45 tells us that “…from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour” (ESV), and 27:50 that “…Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit” (ESV). The sixth hour is noon, and the ninth hour is three pm. Jesus was crucified at nine am and released his Spirit at three pm, for a total of six hours on the cross.
We know that God is very specific and precise concerning time, number and prophecy. So why did Jesus suffer on the cross for exactly six hours? Jesus, present at the creation, suffered and died on the cross not only to redeem all who believe in him, but also to redeem creation itself from the effects of the fall, and to redeem the entire six-thousand-year period of humankind’s sojourn on earth before the Second Coming of Christ to claim his kingdom.
For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us (Romans 8:19-23 NLT).

The Twelve Days of Christmas – Day Five

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, five golden rings…
The Greek word Pentateuch and the Hebrew word Torah are names for the first five books of the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, which were written by Moses.
These are the five interlocking golden rings containing the Biblical stories of the creation and the fall of man, Noah and the flood, the birth of the nation of Israel, Israel’s captivity in Egypt and their deliverance from slavery, the giving of the Law and the blueprint for the construction of the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant.
Five major characters from these stories are Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Moses, each of which provides us with types and shadows of the ministry of Jesus Christ:
 And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven (1 Corinthians 15:45-47 NKJV).
Before the flood, God gave his servant Noah instructions on how to build an ark. Today, before the time of the Tribulation, God has provided his servants with a better Ark, of a New Covenant, Jesus Christ: for we live and move and have our being in him (Acts 17:28).
But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be (Matthew 24:37-39 NKJV).
God calls Abraham the “father of many nations” (Genesis 17:4). Abraham is also known as the father of faith (Galatians 3:9) for those who are born of the Spirit. The name Abraham is associated with strength, protection and covering, in the way that a mother hen covers her chicks with her wings.*
The best-known story of Abraham occurs on Mount Moriah, where Abraham’s faith and obedience to God are demonstrated by his willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac at God’s command. In this story, Abraham is a representation of God the Father, and Isaac represents God’s perfect sacrifice of his beloved Son on the cross (Genesis 22):
And [God] said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me” (Genesis 22:12).
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him (John 3:16-17 ESV).
Hebrews chapter three tells us that Jesus Christ is superior to Moses, which is explained in John 1:17: For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ (KJV). The Old Testament is founded on the law, which was given by God to his servant, Moses; but the New Testament is founded on a better promise, salvation by faith in the grace of God, which came in the person of his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 8:6).

*(See www.abarimpublications.com/Meaning/Abraham.html for more information on the name Abraham.)

The Twelve Days of Christmas – Day Four

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, four calling birds…
The four calling birds can be seen to represent the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, calling out the story of Jesus to the world.
Each of the four gospels highlights a specific theme of Jesus’ life and ministry. Matthew presents to us Jesus as the Lion King – of the lineage of the tribe of Judah, through kings David and Solomon. This is understood to be Jesus’ legal lineage, “…through [his stepfather] Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ” (Matthew 1:16b).
The gospel of Mark depicts Jesus as the Laboring Ox – the Suffering Servant; and in Mark’s gospel we see Jesus tirelessly working, moving quickly from place to place, healing the sick, performing miracles and casting out demons.
Luke’s gospel describes Jesus as the Son of Man. As a scientist and physician, Luke endeavors to provide us, who are lovers of God, an orderly account of Jesus’ ministry (Luke 1:1-4). He also gives us a first-hand account of the acts of the apostles after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, in the Book of Acts.
 John blesses us with a soaring depiction of the Son of God, and the creature associated with the picture of Jesus in John’s gospel is a mighty Eagle.
The creatures that represent the four gospels: the Lion, the Ox, the Man and the Eagle are represented in the Old Testament in Ezekiel’s vision of the four living creatures in the midst of the fiery chariot:
As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man; each of the four had the face of a lion on the right side, each of the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and each of the four had the face of an eagle. 11 Thus were their faces. Their wings stretched upward; two wings of each one touched one another, and two covered their bodies (Ezekiel 1:10 NKJV).
And we see these cherubim again in John’s vision of the Throne of God in Revelation chapter 4, calling out, “Holy, Holy, Holy!”:
Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying:
“Holy, holy, holy,
Lord God Almighty,
Who was and is and is to come!”
(Revelation 4:6-8 NKJV)
The Book of Genesis tells us that God made humankind in his image. In the beginning, Adam and Eve were holy – sanctified, set apart for the glory of God. After the fall, the holy image of God in man and woman was distorted by sin.
Through Jesus Christ’s saving work on the cross, and the rebirth into the Kingdom of God that occurs when we accept him as our Lord and Savior, we are remade and the image of God in us is restored.
The gospels cry out “Holy! Holy! Holy!” in the presence of God – who was, and is, and is to come. Because of Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross, we may approach the Throne of Grace boldly, as God’s redeemed children. The gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, as described in the Book of Revelation as surrounding the great Throne, continually sound the Word of God – the story of Jesus - to a lost and dying world.

The Twelve Days of Christmas – Day Three

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, three French hens…
There are only two times that a hen is mentioned in the Bible, and it is in the same context, in Matthew 23:37 and Luke 13:34, when Jesus laments over Jerusalem shortly before his crucifixion:
Nevertheless I must journey today, tomorrow, and the day following; for it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Luke 13:33-34 NKJV).
Notice that Jesus laments over Jerusalem because the Israelites would not let him gather them together and cover them with his wings of protection. This is also referenced in Luke 19:41, at the time of Jesus’ triumphal entry into the city:
Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes” (Luke 19:41-42 NKJV).
These are three laments, or the three hens, of Jesus weeping over Israel’s lost opportunity to receive their Messiah when he was among them, because they rejected him and did not recognize the time of their visitation (Luke 19:44).
Because Jesus refers to himself as wanting to protect God’s people as a hen protects her chicks, we are reminded of the protective, parenting aspect of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit – the triune nature of the Godhead – in the three hens in the carol.
And because of course the song is sung at Christmas time, we can recognize the three wise visitors from the east – the three magi – and their gift of gold, frankincense and myrrh, arriving on the backs of camels, hidden in the carol’s imagery.
Instructed by the king, they set off. Then the star appeared again, the same star they had seen in the eastern skies. It led them on until it hovered over the place of the child. They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time!
They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh (Matthew 2:9-11 MSG).

The Twelve Days of Christmas – Day Two

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, two turtle doves…
The scriptures are the revelation of Jesus Christ and the mystery of God’s redemptive love for humankind. When we look into the meaning of the images in “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” we are looking for a fresh revelation of his love, expressed through God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, as demonstrated in the Bible.
The Song of Solomon is a rich, gorgeous poem describing the love of God for his Bride, who is composed of his People, who form his Church. God, our heavenly Husband, is the giver, and we, the Bride whom he has come to seek and to save, are the receivers of his precious gifts. I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine (Song of Songs 6:3a ESV).
The gift of the two turtle doves on the second day of Christmas symbolize the Holy Spirit, as he is revealed in both the Old and New Testaments.
The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters (Genesis 1:2 ESV).
Jesus said to his disciples:
“If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.  I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you (John 14:15-18 NKJV).
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:26-27 NKJV).
The Holy Spirit is also represented by the two turtledoves that Mary and Joseph brought to the temple in Jerusalem, eight days after the birth of Jesus, to present him in the temple:
“…they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord…And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is written in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves… (Luke 2:22, 24 KJV).
And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.  And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ (Luke 2:25-26 NKJV).
Reading further in Luke chapter two, you’ll see that the Holy Spirit was present upon Simeon and Anna the prophetess, and that they prophesied over the infant Jesus in the temple, “to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38).
We can also see the “two turtledoves” aspect of the Holy Spirit when Mary, pregnant by the Holy Spirit, visits her cousin Elizabeth, pregnant with John the Baptist, in Luke 1:39-56:
And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” (Luke 1:41-42 NKJV).
And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior” (Luke 1:46-47 NKJV).
We see the pregnant cousins Mary and Elizabeth, like two turtledoves prophesying over their babies; the infants Jesus and John recognizing each other in the wombs of their mothers; and Simeon and Anna, aged prophet and prophetess, speaking prophesy over the infant Jesus like two turtledoves – all filled with the Holy Spirit.
The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of singing has come,
And the voice of the turtledove
Is heard in our land (Song of Solomon 2:12 NKJV).

The Twelve Days of Christmas – Day One

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a partridge in a pear tree…
Legend and controversy surround the popular Christmas carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” claiming that the verses contain a secret code, used, perhaps as early as the 1500’s, to transmit hidden doctrine between followers of Christ - under the very noses (or past the very ears) of those in power who would persecute them for their faith.
We don’t know who wrote the lyrics to this song, and while the legends may or may not be true, we can certainly have some fun with the symbols contained in the carol which are discoverable to whosoever loves and studies the Word of God.
It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out (Proverbs 25:2 ESV).
The twelve days of Christmas begin on December 25, Christmas Day, and end on January 6, the Day of Epiphany, which commemorates the visit of the three Magi to confirm the prophecy regarding the birth of the King of the Jews.
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him (Matthew 2:1-2 KJV).
On the first day of Christmas, the number 1 represents the unity of the Godhead, described in the Shema prayer in Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and confirmed by Jesus in Mark 12:29-31:
Jesus answered, “The most important [commandment] is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
The picture of a partridge in a pear tree can be understood to symbolize Jesus, crucified at Calvary – and after the resurrection, Jesus as the firstfruits –  the first person resurrected from the dead, who delivers the kingdom of God to his Father, described in 1 Corinthians 15:20-26; and the pear tree as the cross upon which Christ was crucified, which becomes the Tree of Life, in Revelation 22:1-2.
Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews” (John 19:19 ESV).
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.  For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.  But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.  For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.  The last enemy to be destroyed is death.  (1 Corinthians 15:20-26 ESV).
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations (Revelation 22:1-2 ESV).
We could do lengthy Bible studies on the symbols in each of the twelve days of the carol, but for now, we’ll just stick with the highlights. What other types and shadows can you find in the scriptures that would fit the pictures in the song? Travel with us over the next eleven days, as we continue to explore the Biblical images revealed in "The Twelve Days of Christmas"!

Knit Together in Love

Soon after Jesus’ birth, three wise men came from the east, bearing extravagant gifts of great value for the prophesied King: gold, frankincense, myrrh.
Shepherds came to worship the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger.
Heavenly hosts of angels praised him from on high, prophesying peace for humankind, for in him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Saint Paul wrote, “Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52 ESV).
Jesus’ birth was a mystery. Conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, swaddled in a manger. Heavenly hosts praised him, but few witnessed his arrival.
The first time the word “mystery” is mentioned in scripture is in the New Testament in Matthew 13:11, when Jesus said to his disciples, “...Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven...”
Matthew 3:2 tells us that, “… John the Baptizer appeared in the desert of Judea. His message was, “Turn to God and change the way you think and act, because the kingdom of heaven is near” (GW).
Later, in Luke 17:20-22, The Pharisees asked Jesus when God’s kingdom would come. He answered them, “People can’t observe the coming of God’s kingdom. They can’t say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ You see, the kingdom of God is within you” (GW).
Jesus said that it is given to us as followers of Christ to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven and that the kingdom of God is within us. Paul wrote that God’s mysteries of wisdom and knowledge are treasures hidden in Jesus, and that the mystery of God is that we will not all sleep but be raised to eternal life.
The raising of the dead that Paul referred to in writing to the church he had planted in Corinth foretold an event yet to occur. But there is another mystery, hidden in Christ Jesus, that is working in us right now. It is the miracle of salvation.
It is only through Jesus Christ - sweet baby Jesus, whose birth has been celebrated for two thousand years - that the miracle of salvation can occur. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, he immediately comes to dwell inside our hearts forever; our sins are purged, and all the treasures of heaven become our inheritance.
God loved the world this way: He gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life (John 3:16 GW).
…that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God's mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:2-3 ESV).
May our hearts rejoice in this Christmas season being knit together with him in love, beholding the mystery of God’s glorious gifts, as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior.

What Child is This?

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6 ESV).
“…Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10b-11 ESV).
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men (Luke 2:14 KJV).
Unto us a Child is born. To us a Son is given. He is Wonderful. He is our Counselor. He is Mighty, Everlasting – the Prince of Peace. Jesus is the answer to the plight of a fallen and broken world.
Heralded by angels. Laid in a manger. Attended by shepherds. The holy Child who the prophets looked steadfastly into the future to see is with us now, ready to abide forever in every heart that will receive him.
All around us, crises have reached the boiling point, with no end in sight. It seems there is nowhere to turn to avoid riots, fires, blizzards, disease, hunger, strife, terror, loneliness.
Let’s pause for a moment from all the busyness, not only of the holiday season, but from all the stress, worry and struggle we see on every side attempting to swamp our lives, and remember why we are here, and to whom we belong.
Jesus is exactly and precisely who the Word of God says he is. He is Wonderful. He is our perfect Counselor, to whom we can turn at any time for consolation and comfort. He is Mighty, to save and to heal. He gives us his strength in times of need. He is Everlasting – he does not change! What he did two thousand years ago, he does for all those who come to him as Lord and Savior.
He is the Prince of Peace, and through his Holy Spirit, Jesus gives us his peace that flows, not from worldly circumstances but from the very throne of Grace. When the storms of life rage all around us, Jesus says, Peace! Be Still! Know that I Am God!
At this time of year, it is easy to become heavy laden with many burdens. Jesus does not want us to be bowed down under the weight of the cares of the world. He came from heaven to earth as the Son of God, to walk with us as the Son of Man, cradled in a virgin womb, laid in a manger, hung from a cross and placed in a tomb; he rose again to dwell forever in our hearts and give us his peace.
Unto us a Son is given. Unto us a Child is born. For God so loves the world.
As we prepare to come together in fellowship with the ones we love in this season of joy and light and giving, can we prepare him room in our hearts, and receive the gift of his everlasting peace and comfort? Jesus does not give as the world gives. What he gives he does not take away, it does not rust or grow old, and it never decreases. His gifts are freely given and unconditional – a matter of grace. His gift of peace is living, powerful and active. The more of his peace, love and joy we receive, the more we have to give.
Our prayer for us all is that we will be more abundantly blessed in the love of God this holiday season than we can imagine, and that in being blessed, God will guide us to be a blessing, to shine the light of the gift of Christmas into a dark and stumbling world – for the glory of God Almighty.
All of us at Speak Comfort wish you Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas and every blessing in the New Year. We thank God for you daily, and you're in our hearts and prayers.
Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

(Joy to the World: Lyrics by Isaac Watts, 1719)