06 December 2005

He Knows and He Is Merciful

Originally uploaded by !efatima.
By far the most significant event in the whole course of human history will be celebrated, with or without understanding, at the end of this season, Advent. What we are in fact celebrating is the awe-inspiring humility of God, and no amount of familiarity with the trappings of Christmas should ever blind us to it. God’s intervening into human history came about with an almost frightening quietness and self-effacement, and as millions will testify, he will come once again with the same silence and the same devastating humility into any heart ready to receive him.
- J. B. Phillips

Christmas is controversial. This is nothing new. What’s new is that the controversy has degenerated into arguments about the use of the word. A variety of inclusive greetings replace “Merry Christmas” and retailers refuse to advertise for “Christmas” opting to promote “Holiday Sales” and sell “Holiday Trees.” To some, this refusal to use the word Christmas is an affront to all things right and good and they have taken up the cause to return Christmas to American consumerism. Such silliness. Who cares? Do we really want the name of Christ used to sell peanut brittle?

2 Timothy 2:23 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.

If we are going to pick a fight about Christmas, let’s move into the territory of the original controversy: God became man. The implications of Christ’s incarnation have been subverting the world system for 2000 years. Jesus Christ knows our situation and He is merciful and faithful to mediate between God and us. Read that last sentence again. The singular purpose for Christmas is to celebrate God’s incarnation – and there is much to celebrate. The original Christmas Carols were an expression of awe and limitless joy, the natural response to considering God with us.

The following “audio blog” is a recording of a sermon recorded at Summitview Community Church on Sunday, December 4,
2005. May God use it to move you to consider the thrilling implications of Christmas.

He Knows and Is Merciful Part 1

He Knows and Is Merciful Part 2

Isaiah 9:1-7 But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.*
2 The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shined.
3 You have multiplied the nation;
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
4 For the yoke of his burden,
and the staff for his shoulder,
the rod of his oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.
5 For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
and every garment rolled in blood
will be burned as fuel for the fire.
6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon* his shoulder,
and his name shall be called*
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.


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