“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6 (NASB)
The last time I was with you I was buzz-sawing through lineages. Maybe you thought I left out a lot of details, but to be honest with you it was about getting to a remnant and that remnant was the tribe of Judah. When we look into the Old Testament we can see that many people and tribes fall by the wayside when it came to the things of YHVH but He kept a remnant of righteousness to ensure His plan of salvation. You can find that plan worded like this… “Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot— yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root. And the Spirit of the LORD will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.” (Isaiah 11:1-2)
But something is gonna happen within the family of David that will clear a path to Messiah and send God’s people into exile. If you were to put the Old Testament in an order that was close to historical events, you would get this king named Zedekiah (meaning “My righteousness is Yahweh”) towards the end of David’s house rule over Israel. First thing to mention is the name change…Zedekiah was Mattanyahu at one time. It meant “gift of God” but when you do business with the king of Babylon you can get a title and a name change. Eventually YHVH would tell Zedekiah to “Remove the turban, and take off the crown; Nothing shall remain the same. Exalt the humble, and humble the exalted.” (Ezekiel 21:26) People are then sent to a land that is not their own and the ways of those people weren’t their ways…
…whatever was left of Israel had returned to the land that YHVH had promised their forefathers some 70 years later but the good old days were gone, forever. And then there would be a silence from YHVH of Biblical proportions, sshhhh….
Then came the iron fist of Rome and it was all about survival not revival.
And so here I am some 2,000 years later wondering how to illuminate my house for the Christmas season (think I’ll go with multi-colored strands of lights and the possibility of 28” snowflake as my centerpiece). Anytime I get into this “decorative spirit” I enter the zone of frustration because, well, it’s sure to be cold the day I decide to do this project, AND, not everything works the way I intent them to. GRRR… “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is about?” echo’s in my head. The answer is quite clear (when I am not trying to untangle the mess of lights I said I wouldn’t allow to get tangled last year when I did this, the total definition of insanity I might add). God does. We’ve just added a lot of nonsense to it.
The day itself is a festival of The Lord’s Anointed but in essence it is really a narrative of redemption that started when Adam and Eve thought it a great idea to eat some fruit because, according to the serpent, God was holding out on them. Now we adored each other with gifts on Christmas to show we aren’t holding out on others but that was never the intention. The intention is Jesus Christ and the saving grace we receive from Him so that we all can stand before a holy and righteous God without blemish because we’ve been cleansed through the redemptive blood of The Lamb. That it is important to understand lineages. So, when they get read out-loud in church this season I got a little advice for ya…deal with it.
Every so often I do get the “I ain’t putting up the lights—BAH HUMBUG ON YOUR COMMERCIALIZED CHRISTMAS!!” but I’m frightened by the notion that Vic Frohmeyer (Dan Aykroyd’s character in “Christmas with the Kranks) will show up on my lawn reminding me the importance of Hemlock Street (or Route 50 in my case) winning the award for best decorations. But in actually the effort I put into putting those lights helps me mediate of the words of Jesus… “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” (Matt 5:14-16)
The redemptive narrative doesn’t have me chasing the things of the world (like a honey ham rolling through a parking only to be crushed by a passing truck) on the contrary, it has me choosing to pursue that which calls me heavenward through Christ. That’s why the lights go up. Why do ours go up…or do they go up at all? And if they don’t, do we need to give Vic a call?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris, a graduate of The Colony of Mercy (11-2003) is married (Kathy) with two adult children (Kevin and Karen) and has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008.
Daily Quote: “This is Christmas: not the tinsel, not the giving and receiving, not even the carols, but the humble heart that receives anew the wondrous gift, the Christ.” — Frank McKibben
This Week’s Verse to Memorize:
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18