Tuesday, December 25, 2012

See His glory!

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Psalm 97:1-12

TO CHEW ON: "His lightnings light the world;
The earth sees and trembles.
The mountains melt like wax
at the presence of the Lord,
At the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.
The heavens declare His righteousness
And all the peoples see His glory."
- Psalm 97:4-6

Today's description of God's awesomeness as He sets foot on planet Earth scarcely fits with the quiet events of the first Christmas that were witnessed by a few shepherds, a few astrologers, maybe the innkeeper's wife (if we believe the Christmas plays!). So why this reading about God coming with brilliance and terror? Didn't our reading guide writer make a mistake in assigning Psalm 97 for Christmas day?

On further thought, the words of this psalm in the context of Christmas do this celebration a great favour.  For though Jesus' coming was humble and quiet, it was destined to rock the planet too.  Dennis McCallum in his book Unlocking the Mysteries of Satan says:

"Although God apparently has been passive in the face Satan's evil actions, he hasn't really been. We can rest assured that he saw the whole thing coming. Before he ever created Satan or humans God knew about their future rebellion, and he formed a colossal, startling plan that suddenly and shockingly burst onto the world....

To the casual reader, it may seem like the biblical story meanders; that God was reacting to events that came up, trying this, trying that, being let down by people, blessing, judging, and eventually, after exhausting other options, sending Jesus. But this is not the case. Right from the beginning, God hinted that his plan was afoot" (Genesis 3:15) - Kindle location 96.

The Christmas chapter of God's plan is only one link—but a most vital one—in a chain of events that will culminate in God someday coming as conqueror to an awestruck, trembling world, as pictured in our reading.

We need to ask ourselves, whose side are we on in this epic clash? The choices are simple:

"You who love the Lord hate evil!
He preserves the souls of His saints
He  delivers them out of the hand of the wicked" - Psalm 97:10.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for Your overarching plan to defeat Satan, and for Jesus coming as part of that plan! Help me to live my life loving You and hating evil. Amen.

MORE: And the Glory of the Lord - from Handel's Messiah (London Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus version)

Today the church celebrates that Feast of Christmas. The liturgy for Christmas Day begins with this collect:

O God, you make us glad by the yearly festival of the birth of your only Son Jesus Christ: Grant that we, who joyfully receive him as our Redeemer, may with sure confidence behold him when he comes to be our Judge; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Wishing a blessed Christmas to all who read here!

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