“I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. . . I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken and will act, says the LORD.” (Ezekiel 37:13)
Our God is the God of the living, not the dead. He brought back the Jews from exile and established them in Canaan after the destruction of Jerusalem. They were reborn as a nation. Even more recently, in 1948, the nation of Israel was created in one day by the United Nations, and Jews from around the world adopted it as their homeland.
Prophets were not honored in the Old Testament, but they lit the way to Jesus. John the Baptist was the last prophet, and even he lost his life for speaking the truth. Hebrews 11 describes prophets as those. . .”of whom the world was not worthy.” We are encouraged to learn from their example: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12 1-2)
During our Advent journey, we have discovered how God planned a way to reestablish a relationship with all peoples from the very beginning. He is hidden to those who choose not to seek him, but as the “hound of Heaven,” he chases us. Through times of joy and sorrow, he waits to be invited into the conversation. His grace permeates scripture. He is the good shepherd, seeking the lost.
Christmas is the time to see the Christ child with new eyes. Draw near to the manger. Let your senses lure you into the scene. As a child, listen to the angels and be amazed as the sky explodes with light. Quiet yourself to hear the still small voice that whispers, “This is most certainly true.” Merry Christmas.
“LORD, you have not left us without first-hand witnesses who proclaimed the message of good news from the very beginning. Thank you for those who remained faithful to the great “I AM:, preserving the covenant for all generations. Most of all, thank you for keeping your promise to send us a Savior to restore all people in the Kingdom of our God. You are the King of King and Lord of Lords. We come to the manager and humble ourselves before you. Accept our praise.” Amen
Mindi Oaten’s painting “Our Revelation” is from God’s Garden of Grace collection.