King James Version (KJV)
10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.
12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.
13 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.
14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:
15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.
16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying,
18 In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.
Fear Not and Be of Good Courage
It has taken me a while to get my head around what happened in Connecticut last week. I've had long conversations with my son, with friends and family and with myself. I avoided the news most of the weekend because it was just too sad for me to absorb 24/7.
It's hard enough to "fear not" and courage seems to wane just listening to the stories. I can't even imagine being there.
The Holy Spirit reminded me however that this was the exact environment into which our Savior was born. Someone lost in his own insecurities and challenged, found it necessary to take the lives of babies. We saw it with Moses. We saw it again in the Word when Jesus' birth was announced. We saw it last week.
Far too often it is the children in our communities who bear the burden of adult problems. Whether from sex trafficking or abuse, divorce, drunkenness, texting while driving, war, or outright murder, it is usually the children who are faced with the gale force of the problem, both as victims and survivors. This was true for Sandy Hook. It's true in Afghanistan and Syria today. It was true for downtown Atlanta last night. It was true in Bethlehem 2000 or so years ago. As the Word reminds us; there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9).
I don't know magic words of comfort. If I did, I would have been on a plane to Sandy Hook, CT Friday afternoon. But whether it's Hurricane Sandy, a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, or at the scene of a car accident on a local highway, loss is loss to those who bear it. Our call, our duty as members of the body of Christ is to share in one another's joys and tragedies. That means laying aside jealousy when there is joy to share and and putting down apathy when there is loss.
Mary watched her Son, our Savior, crucified for crimes He did not commit. This is the same Son she shielded and whisked away into Egypt when Herrod decided to murder newborn sons at His birth. Its a burden no parent should have and yet, many do.
I will not fathom an answer to why this happened. But I do know this. This season of joy and laughter we celebrate this month was literally born out of the blood of innocents. It wasn't a light thing with God then, and it isn't a light thing with Him now. So, to cope, to deal, I am placing this in the hands of God. If He can forge a plan to save all of mankind with a tragedy, He can handle this mess and the others we create.
Isaiah 40 says it best:
King James Version (KJV)
40 Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.
2 Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins.
3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:
5 And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
6 The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field:
7 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass.
8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
9 O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!
10 Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.
11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
12 Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?
13 Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counsellor hath taught him?
14 With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?
15 Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.
16 And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering.
17 All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity.
18 To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?
19 The workman melteth a graven image, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold, and casteth silver chains.
20 He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image, that shall not be moved.
21 Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?
22 It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:
23 That bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity.
24 Yea, they shall not be planted; yea, they shall not be sown: yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth: and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble.
25 To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.
27 Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God?
28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.
29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Peace that surpasses understanding. Joy unspeakable. Comfort and Hope. This is my Christmas prayer for all of us.
Lifeline is produced from the Evangelistic Ministry of in Jonesboro, GA. You are encouraged to share this message. The Fellowship Church website (www.fcchosengeneration.com) includes a link to the Lifeline Blog (www.lifelineatfellowship.blogspot.com) where you can find previous messages.
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