Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Next Year in Jerusalem

Why do we celebrate Christmas? I'm sure almost everyone could give the Sunday School answer to that..."It's Jesus' birthday!"

And if you said that, you'd be correct! But if you really think about it, WHY do we celebrate His birthday? Nothing changed that day...okay, I know Jesus being born is a big deal, but think again...salvation DIDN'T come that day, if Jesus had not lived a perfect life, His dying on the cross would have been meaningless. So why do we celebrate?

Why did God tell the shepherds to go to Bethlehem to see Jesus? Again, TECHNICALLY salvation had yet to be accomplished. So what were they celebrating? A popular Christmas song that can be heard on the radio (practically on repeat right now...) has the line "hope is born today."

And THAT I think is the key. HOPE. God makes promises, and He always keeps those promises. But at the same time, He recognizes that we are human...and we forget. So He gives us glimpses of the fulfillment of those promises along the way so we don't grow weary. Even when we do not always see the fulfillment of those promises because it may not happen during our lifetime, God still gives us the glimpse of that fulfillment.

In Luke 2, Simeon and Anna were two people that had lived their whole lives being promised the coming of the Messiah. They had not and would not see the fulfillment of Jesus dying on the cross and rising again, but God gave them a glimpse of His promise in the birth of Christ. HOPE had come to them.

And I believe that is the real reason we celebrate Christmas or at least why we SHOULD celebrate. We should think about celebrating the HOPE of salvation that came when Jesus was born.

Why am I mentioning all this? Because I feel like Simeon and Anna right now...I believe that God has promised healing. I believe that there will be a day when I will be completely healed and will not have any pain or nausea or health problems. BUT I do not have a guarantee that the fulfillment of that promise will occur in this life. Because I have the hope of heaven, I know that eventually I WILL BE HEALED. At this time of year, when we are celebrating the HOPE of salvation, it reminds me that I can (and should) also HOPE in the promise of being healed. Just as Simeon and Anna did not see the complete fulfillment of salvation in their lives, but were grateful to God for the glimpse of that salvation in the birth of Christ; I feel that this Christmas season is a good reminder of holding onto the HOPE of eternal life where there will be no more sickness or pain.

At Passover every year, at the end of the Seder we shout "Next year in Jerusalem!" That is a reference of hoping for the second coming of Christ and the hope of heaven. I'm saying "Next year OUT OF THE HOSPITAL" in hope of less medically filled year in 2015, but REGARDLESS of the physical circumstances, there is ALWAYS the HOPE of healing.

Merry Christmas! (and Happy Chanukah for my Jewish friends and family!)

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