Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A New Word For The Christmas Season
Christmas is going to come and go and we’ll enjoy the time of celebration and reflection as what this event means for eternity and for the immediate as it touches our lives. Then comes January. The glow of Christmas is not going to be as strong as the days move away from December 25 and so what’s left when the hard, painful, hurtful, faith challenging events of living come on us in 2008?

One thing very possible is my faith is going to waiver through the year because it is “MY FAITH” and I’m fallible and too dependent on basing my faith on what I know rather than what I don’t know.

So what’s going to sustain us through the rest of the year? There are a lot of words and phrases uniquely associated with Christmas that we don’t use as frequently throughout the rest of the year such as “hark,” “tidings,” “goodwill towards men (and women).”
We know one word that is about Christmas we do use throughout the year and that’s Love because we read of it in John 3:16. But here’s a word I’ll bet you’ve never heard in association with Christmas. HESED

If LOVE defines God’s nature then hesed, defines His character. The Greek word, hesed, means loving kindness, mercy and, interestingly, the keeper of commitments. When you think about it, it makes perfect sense for hesed to mean both loving kindness and keeper of commitments. If my nature is love, what is the best way to show love, mercy, loving kindness? It is to do exactly what I said I would do. Not so that you would know me as reliable but because the best way to show love is to keep commitments. What God promised He would do, he did. What he promises he will do, he will. Listen to His promises.

Isaiah 9:7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

Luke 1:32-33 (NIV) He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”

Micah 5:2 (NIV)“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.

So what’s left after Christmas? The music on the radio is back to normal programming. The clerks don’t say Merry Christmas any more. We don’t have a President’s Day party and bring gifts and feed the poor as if they are only hungry one day out of the year. So what’s left? For me, it’s my absolute, unshakable trust in Him as a loving, caring, all powerful, all knowing Father of the Universe who knows me and knew me before I was even formed in my Mother’s womb.

Christmas is a celebration. It’s a wonderful day to celebrate. But Christmas is also evidence of God’s hesed, his very nature that defines Him as loving and caring and because of that the keeper of commitments. He promised a Savior. He provided a Savior. His name is Emmanuel. The fact that God sent Jesus in fulfillment of prophecy speaks volumes of His trustworthiness. Because He loves us we can trust him. Because we trust him we can love him without doubt, without hesitation and without knowing the explanation or understanding of everything that happens in my life.
He did what he said he would do. He will do what He promises he will do. Christmas is about God so loving the world. Christmas is also about trusting Him through the year because of his hesed character.

1 comment:

Dennis Christianson said...

Great thoughts. It reminds me of the concept that God made a covenant of love with us and not a legal contract. A covenant says "I'll always do what I said I'd do no matter what you do". A contract says: "I'll do this but only if you do that."
Dennis