The Pagan Path

Those who wonder are not lost; they are trying to awaken! 'The Sleeper must awaken!'

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Real Christmas Story

The people who walked in darkness
    have seen a great light.
For those who lived in a land of deep shadows—
    light! sunbursts of light!
You repopulated the nation,
    you expanded its joy.
Oh, they’re so glad in your presence! Festival joy!
The joy of a great celebration,
    sharing rich gifts and warm greetings.
The abuse of oppressors and cruelty of tyrants—
    all their whips and cudgels and curses—
Is gone, done away with, a deliverance
    as surprising and sudden as Gideon’s old victory over Midian.
The boots of all those invading troops,
    along with their shirts soaked with innocent blood,
Will be piled in a heap and burned,
    a fire that will burn for days!
For a child has been born—for us!
    the gift of a son—for us!
He’ll take over the running of the world.
His names will be: Amazing Counselor,
    Strong God, Eternal Father,
    Prince of Wholeness.
His ruling authority will grow,
    and there’ll be no limits to the wholeness he brings.
He’ll rule from the historic David throne
    over that promised kingdom.
He’ll put that kingdom on a firm footing
    and keep it going with fair dealing and right living,
    beginning now and lasting always.
The zeal of God-of-the-Angel-Armies
    will do all this.
Isaiah 9:2-7 ( Message )

The above, of course, has already transpired, been fulfilled, and we can now take comfort from passages such as this, knowing that God now rules over all!

During this time of year, it is traditional to celebrate the birth of Jesus who was the Christ, and to present each other with gifts in His Name, as He gave us the greatest Gift ever; Freedom from sin and death!

While we remember the birth of our Savior this year, we would do well to remember that this Advent merely heralded His Judgment of Sin & Death; it was not His first appearance that brought Salvation to His people, it was His final Parousia, or Presence! 

According to Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary, insurrection is simply 'an act or instance of revolting against civil authority or an established government'. Not only was Mary's questionable pregnancy in defiance of age-old tradition of the day, the Son that she birthed set the established political and religious world on it's ear! Not only did Jesus, the Very Image of God in Man free His people from the chains of their ancient adversaries; He changed the course of world events from that Day forward!

John's vision in Revelation 12 recounts what might be called 'the not-so-nice Christmas Story', the Story that Reveals the covenant context and gory details of how Salvation was won for the People of God!

The Insurrection that was engendered through Mary had the outcome of providing a Resurrection for Israel! 

Resurrection for Israel meant Resurrection for all the People of God, for we became One in Him ( Ephesians 1:10, 2:15 ). As Jesus' earthly mother boldly took a stand against the traditions of her day, so that birth enabled the People of God to stand again in defiance of the sin & the death which had held them in bondage for so long!

As we celebrate the birth of our Resurrection ( John 11:26 ) this year, let us ponder the question 'how shall we then live?' Should we not live our lives in honor and praise of what He did, not hoping for another outcome more appropriate to our vain imaginations, but reveling, living our lives in that blessed assurance that He HAS defeated death, that He IS ruling NOW, and that His Kingdom will have no end!

The answer to our question is, 'triumphantly'!

Having disarmed principalities and powers, 
He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.
Colossians 2:15

Thusly, we should live triumphantly, knowing that through Him we have been given the power to triumph over all our adversaries, and having done all, to stand!

Standing in Him,
Charles Haddon Shank

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