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Before the world was created Jesus was! John tells us that in the beginning was the Word. That would be Jesus! Jesus is also the last, the Omega. Jesus will still be when nothing else remains. I always thought that it looked kind of like a horseshoe. The Gospel lesson reminds us that before Jesus came, his immediate forerunner came.
John the Baptist, Jesus close relative, was also miraculously born.
While John was not born of a virgin, he was born of a woman who was barren. To be barren means that it is physically impossible for the woman to conceive. Elizabeth was barren. There have been other significant women who also were barren. Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel were all women who were barren but the Lord blessed them with a child because of the miracle that he accomplished in them. When God promised Zechariah through the angel Gabriel that the Lord had heard his pray and would grant him a son, Zechariah was uncertain and asked for a sign.
God gave him a sign. He was mute until the child was born. Imagine a preacher unable to speak! Sounds frightening to me.
When John was born Elizabeth named him John. The friends said are you sure? As soon as he did, he could speak again. What did he say? Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel. What do you say since the birth of Jesus? One of the nicest things that we can give someone is the gift of encouragement. Everyone likes to hear that they are doing a good job, or that someone appreciates their effort. Jude gives us a dose of encouragement in the latter part of his little Epistle.
Jude encourages us to build up ourselves in our faith and to pray in the Holy Spirit. As of today there are 18 days until Christmas. Children have long begun the task of counting the days until the day arrives. The excitement begins to build as the days pass, and the children eagerly await the joy of Christmas morning. When will Jesus return? It is easy to count the days to a certain event that has been observed in the past or put into our calendars in anticipation of the upcoming event.
Is it the fact that we breath. The Girl that Bites. For every wish you make It costs you a little bit of hope Once hope is lost So if they are saved and going to heaven then why should i discipline myself not to fall into the same temptations as them? Weep not at my grave when I am dead, Sing me not the dirge of cold nights, Sing instead the rhymes of the Willows, Chant all day the lullabies of the pixies. Together with a tambourine, you have the making of a great worship session!
What about when you do not know when the event will happen, even though you know it will? Not knowing when the Lord will return has not kept the Church from expecting Him to come. For over a thousand years Israel waited for the birth of the Messiah. The sad news is that many, nearly all, missed it. Come quickly Jesus! What would Christmas be like without Santa Claus? I grew up as a child that believed in Santa. On Christmas Eve I would put a plate of cookies, a glass of milk, and a carrot on the table for a snack for Santa and of course Rudolf. He always wrote me a note, thanking me for the snack.
The Epistle passage speaks of people who try to pollute the gospel. Jude says that they have slipped in among the church and distort the grace of the Lord by denying that He is the sovereign Lord. I am not suggesting that we drop Santa. What I am suggesting is that we put Jesus first in the Christmas story. Let us tell our children, and grandchildren , that Jesus has come as the real gift at Christmas.
You know the character created by Charles Schultz. Charlie tries and tries, but never seems to achieve the success that he so desperately wants. Charlie is so disappointed, even his dog, Snoopy, has won the decorating contest. Charlie walks away in disappointment and dejection. His friends come and re-decorate the tree, and consequently make it beautiful. The gospel lesson reminds us of the stone that has been rejected. It has no place or usage, and is simply set aside.
Perhaps this describes you as well.
Sometimes we feel like we are put aside, or perhaps even forgotten. This stone become the capstone, yes, even Jesus was put aside by some, and still is, but He is the Capstone, the one who holds all things together! How many days until Christmas?