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Posts Tagged ‘Isaiah 7:14’

As I contemplate today about the first family, I am not referring to Will and Kate’s or  Barack and Michelle Obama’s family, I am referring to the first family of Christmas …

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This first family of Christmas was a unique family, one that was never before, and will not be again. Certainly there have been families that began with a teenage pregnancy, or a long trip (our honeymoon trip was a car drive from New Brunswick to Yellowstone National Park …), or concern for the future, or without a place to live, but never was there a family like this first family of Christmas.

Never was there a family who began from such simple means, with such great purpose.

Joseph was a carpenter, a respected, necessary profession in that time, but not an esteemed position in that society. It is a fair guess that Mary would not have been from a household that was ‘above’ that of Joseph, as marrying beyond your class or level in society would not have been acceptable. They were simple, average Jews, living within the expectations and laws of their place, time and culture. They were engaged, thinking of and preparing for their wedding day, but engagement was a little different than what we know of engagement today. To be engaged then meant that you were already married in the eyes of society, in the eyes of the synagogue, in the eyes of God. And, even though if Joseph had died, Mary would be viewed a widow. They did not live together … they barely spoke to each other, and certainly not alone.

Mary was a virgin.

This was written the book of Luke, and it was the fulfillment of the prophesy in Isaiah (Isaiah 7:14):

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign:The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”

Joseph was a righteous man.

This meant that he obeyed the laws, followed the rules, was respected in the community. For him to choose to wed his pregnant Mary was to live his days as disgraced as she. His response to the angelic messengers who told him that the conception was from the Holy Spirit (relieving him of feeling disrespected by his betrothed) and the direction for Joseph to give the baby boy the name Jesus was evidence of just how righteous he really was, from the inside out.

“He (Joseph) did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.” (Matthew 1:24-25)images-9

The entirety of the formation of this first family was in the hands of God, who provided the seed in Jesus, who grew into the life source of redemption for all of humanity.

Isaiah 11:1-10
A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
The spirit of the LORD shall rest on him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.

His delight shall be in the fear of the LORD.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide by what his ears hear;
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.

Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist,
and faithfulness the belt around his loins.

The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.

The cow and the bear shall graze,
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.

They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.

On that day
the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples;
the nations shall inquire of him,
and his dwelling shall be glorious.”

 

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Is there any edible token of the Christmas season that is more common than the sugar cookie, cut out and decorated festively?

The other day was Christmas cookie baking and decorating day. I had made the dough, and icing of various colors.

Only our youngest daughter, and our student from China decided to participate in this event. Our daughter from China was so excited to be making Christmas cookies for the first time. First time experiences create an atmosphere that just makes you want to be around.

Over a period of about two hours, the two girls (plus periodic visiting participants) rolled, cut out, baked and decorated about four dozen cookies. They chatted, giggled, gave each other decorating advice, sang Christmas songs, and compared their creations.

What a beautiful thing to have opportunity to introduce and share in the first experiences of our sweet girl from China. To see her excitedly jumping up and down, awaiting for everything to be ready to make cut out cookies for the first time gave our home a feel of excitement liken to … Christmas.

Christmas is a time of excitement, a time of wonder and anticipation. That is why, at this season, we sing “Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel.” Isaiah 7:14 is where this beautiful, ages old Christmas carol originates. It states, “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.” And the excitement for the coming Messiah began.

This carol communicates lament, or mourning. And yet, it is a most popular of all hymns of the advent season. A season of anticipation, of wonder of … excitement. What a contrast it is to pair lamenting and anticipation. But, truly we lament, we mourn most productively when we acknowledge that our mourning is for a season, and that God’s providential hand will, indeed, work it all our for the greater good.

And what better good could there be than Emmanuel, the one who came to save. The one that was anticipated, as Israel mourned her loses.

When we sing Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel this season, may we do so with the excitement and anticipation (and wonder) of our young girl from China, who couldn’t wait for the time to make sugar cookies. May we sing with our mouths, and with our hearts, “Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.”

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