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Saturday, December 25, 2010

And so it begins, in the lowly town of Bethlehem ...

Much of what is written in the Old Testament by the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah and Zechariah, and the psalmists (much of which is attributed to King David himself), was amazingly written 500-700 years before Jesus was born.

And only upon the birth

and life

and death of Jesus

does it suddenly and miraculously ... and prophetically ... make sense.

These prophetic (and at first, puzzling) words that speak of a virgin giving birth to a child called Immanuel, which literally means "God with us", and that this child would come from the lowly town of Bethlehem, through the lineage of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, through King David. He would be pierced for our transgressions and this would heal our wounds (how can this be???!) and bring about a blessing for ALL nations.

Micah 5:2 But you, Bethlehem Ephrathath, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who is ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel (God with us).

Isaiah 9:6-7 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 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 forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

Jeremiah 23:5 “They days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will raise up to David (or from David’s line) a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.

Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Isaiah 53: 5-6 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

Zechariah 12:10 And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves a firstborn son.

Psalms 16:10 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.

And so it begins … in the town of Bethlehem …

Luke 2:4 ...

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth to Bethlehem the town of David. He went there to register (for the census) with Mary (who was also from the line of David) who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a savior has been born to you; he is Christ (Messiah, the Annointed One) the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel , praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

From my family to you and yours - I pray you have a blessed Christmas where you ponder the miraculous birth of Jesus and wonder anew at the amazing gift given to us.

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