Tuesday, December 24, 2013

BEAUTIFUL AND GLORIOUS

Suggested Reading: Isaiah 3-5

Click scripture link to read online or HERE to listen online (then click the symbol of the audio speaker above the scripture portion).

 

This is a great picture for Christmas Eve! The actors of Nazareth Village do their best to bring the Gospels to life. Their motive is that all who visit will believe in Jesus as did the Shepherds. Let us come to worship Him too. The "Branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious!" (Isaiah 4:2). The Baby is "The Branch." The original meaning of the word translated "Branch" may have been "Bud." A bud is a baby branch. Merry Christmas!!!

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where the photo was taken, click HERE.

 

Key Verses: Isaiah 4:2

In that day the Branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious; And the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and appealing for those of Israel who have escaped.

Isaiah 3 could be depressing if not for the promise of our key verse. The actual destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians was still over 100 years away, but on the road to destruction (the people’s fault, not God’s) there would be famine, incompetent and corrupt leaders, chaos and gross sin.

The warnings in Chapter 4 give way to messages of hope. At some future time, Zion will prosper under the beautiful reign of “The Branch.” This is a term which refers to the rule of the “Messiah.” As Christians, we believe that “Branch-Messiah” is Jesus, whose birth we celebrate!!!

In Chapter 5 the word “woe” is repeated 6 times. The “woe” of “intoxicating drink” is referenced twice! Let’s pay attention to that one and act accordingly this Christmas. Other woes are selfishness, greed, materialism, the reversing of standards of behaviour, pride and injustice. “Woe” is the result of rejecting the Covenant, a most solemn and binding legal agreement, made between God and the human family. Jesus was born to turn “woe” into something “beautiful, glorious…excellent and appealing!” (Isaiah 4:2). God came to us, as Elizabeth, the cousin of the Virgin Mary said, “to take away my reproach!” (Luke 1:25). Click here to read Luke, chapters 1 & 2 on Christmas Eve.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, may I perceive the beauty and glory of “The Branch of the Lord” in all the fulness of His Person. May I, because of Your redemption, make the fruit of the earth, the redeemed of the Lord, more beautiful and appealing to others. Through Jesus Christ, I pray that I will daily run farther and farther away from sin, escaping forever from its clutches! In Your all-powerful Name I pray, Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

In Isaiah 5:1 the prophet gives some personal words from God! “Let Me sing for My well-beloved a love song.” As I type these words, Norma-Jean is still sleeping, but when she awakes I’m inspired to sing her a love song. It will be our favourite called, “Unforgetable.” Singer Nat King Cole sang it so beautifully, and I’ll be a poor excuse for his voice, but It’s the thought that counts.

All four of our children have lost electricity in their homes as a result of the ice storm which has hit us. They have wood or gas stoves to help keep them warm, and their homes are lit with candles or lamps. That may be more romantic than the electric lights that Norma-Jean and I have on here in our Burlington apartment.

As a boy, I lived for six years in an addition to our Aunt’s farmhouse where we did not have electricity. My Dad was overseas. Norma-Jean’s childhood home did not have electricity either. Somehow we managed. I still have such warm thoughts of the wood fire in the box stove and the little candles clipped on the freshly cut Christmas tree branches which gave light in the parlour. Yes, the flames near the branches could’ve been dangerous, but the tree was fresh and we were careful. We’ve proven that we can, if necessary, get along without electricity, but we know for sure that we cannot get along without the One born in Bethlehem, whose birth we celebrate this evening. He is “A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles.” I’m one of them! He is my “Light!” (Luke 2:32a).

Yours in “beautiful and glorious” celebration of Christ’s birth!

David

P.S. In the picture below, I’m on the roof of the Bethlehem City Hall. We’re overlooking Manger Square. What is perhaps the world’s tallest (artificial) Christmas tree was in the process of being decorated when we took this photo on November 25th. Directly over the top of the tree is the Church of the Nativity. The cave/stable where Jesus was born is just underneath the church. The continuity of the families of the shepherds and the relatives of Joseph make this spot believable. Do you see the red roof next door to the Nativity Church? That’s St. Catherine’s Church. You may see today the midnight Mass from there, which is carried every year around the world on TV. Also, click here for #4 in the TV specials I hosted from Bethlehem. They are being carried on CTS Monday through Friday this week at 9:30 p.m.

19 thoughts on “Tuesday, December 24, 2013

  1. I want to wish you and your family a very blessed Christmas. I am so very pleased to see you looking so well. It has been a struggle but the Lord has done a great healing in your body. My pray for you has always been for your healing as we need you here with us, now more than ever. May God continue to bless you and your work.

  2. Reading Isaiah and about the”Branch” is very timely as well as your inspiring blog, David. Encouraging word for those without hydro. It’s still snowing here and yesterday was a strenuous day of snow removal. Enjoyed “Rock Kids Christmas” last night and your taping from Bethlehem, David. Blessings, everyone.

  3. Merry Christmas Pastor Dave, so good to know some one that shines a light where it can bee seen. Blessings from Max and Bernie

    • No, December 25th is not the actual date of Christ’s birth. There are two theories I have heard to explain why the early Catholic Church settle on that date. The first one was to “Christianize a pagan festival that was celebrated in and around the same date. The second theory was the early Church was more interested in celebrating Christ’s death which was said to have occurred sometime between March 25 to April 6. Over time March 25th was chosen to be the feast day of the annunciation. So when they were disputes between leaders on when to recognize the birth they decided chose nine months from that feast day, so nine months from March 25 and you get Dec 25 as date to celebrate the birth.
      However, most modern Bible scholars I have read believe the actual date would have been September during the Jewish festival of Tabernacles.

    • Swaddling clothes would be for a cold season. December 25th was a pagan holiday. They changed it to celebrate Jesus’ birth sometime after the conversion of the Roman empire to Christianity.

  4. Dear Rev, David M.
    I can just imagine you singing UNFORGETTABLE to Norma- Jean knowing your love is for one another . Have a wonderful Merry Christmas in each others arms and may The Lords Peace on this very special celeberation of the birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ fill the hearts of every member of your family .
    A very Merry Chrismas to all my fellow bloggers.
    xxxx Carole.

  5. God bless each and everyone on this precious day–Christmas Eve. Such a loving and heartfelt message–thank you, David! So grateful to be loved by our Lord and Saviour–our shining light! Merry Christmas fellow saints!

  6. Great show special from Bethlehem, which we enjoyed watching together! Have a wonderful night, as we celebrate the eve of our Saviours birth! Enjoy!

  7. Christmas blessings to you Pastor David and all your family. Praying for those without power. We have many many trees down here n Brampton but to see the sun sparkle on the branches like diamonds show that something beautiful can come from something devastating.

    As we celebrate the wonderful birth of The Saviour, MERRY CHRISTMAS one and all.

    Enjoying your series from The Holy land Pastor.

  8. Blessings to all this Christmas eve! May the joy and peace that only our Lord Jesus Christ may bring, be with all of you as we enter into one of the most precious days of the year. Thank you for your continued blogs David and may you experience the joy of Christmas in the company of your loving family and good friends.

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