Zechariah 8:1-23, Revelation 16:1-21, Psalm 144:1-15, Proverbs 30:29-31
Today is the 25th day of December, also known as Christmas day, welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I am Brian. It is great to be here with you. We have taken this journey from the beginning of the year all the way to this day and this day marks the turn of human history. This day marks the arrival of the Savior of the world and there is nowhere that I’d rather be to celebrate this than here with you, around the Global Campfire Merry Christmas everybody.
Merry Christmas everybody. It is so wonderful to reach this point every year, in this most holy day and this most beautiful day of celebration and the fact that no matter where we are in the world, we can celebrate it together here. And I trust that wherever you are the peace of Christ descends upon you filling your heart with joy and filling the world with joy. And I’m glad even on this Christmas day we can gather together and move forward together and take the next step forward together in the Scriptures. So, let’s dive in. We obviously are picking up where we left off, no matter what day it is or what holiday it is, and we have been moving our way this week, through the book of Zechariah. And we will continue to move our way through the book of Zechariah, today and tomorrow and all the way up until a couple of days before the end of the year. Today, Zechariah chapter 8.
Okay, so obviously it’s hard to ignore and hard to miss that today is Christmas day and we are celebrating all over the world, the arrival of the Savior. And this is a passage of Scripture that I have read every Christmas day, well, this would be the 17th time in a row, 17th Christmas, reading these passages. And all of the while, I’ve read these passages and thought, man I wish we had a manger scene, like I wish we had the postcard Christmas reading but this is what comes up. And so often, I’ve thought, this is and all that encouraging for Christmas day, but I really enjoyed what we read in Zechariah today. Just hearing from the Lord and I quote from Zechariah, God speaking here, “I care passionately about Zion, I burn with passion for her. The Lord proclaims I have returned to Zion. I will settle in Jerusalem. Jerusalem will be called the city of truth, the mountain of the Lord of heavenly forces will be the holy mountain. Old men and old women will again dwell in the plazas of Jerusalem, the city will be full of boys and girls gathering in its plazas. Even though it may seem to be a miracle for the few remaining among his people in these days, should it seem to be a miracle for me, says the Lord of heavenly forces. I’m about to deliver my people from the land of the East and the West and I’ll bring them back, so they will dwell in Jerusalem, they will be My people and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness.” Just one more time where we get to see that God, no matter what happens, will not relent and surrender what He loves, His treasure, His people. And if Christmas day doesn’t tell us anything else, it has to tell us that, the lengths He’s been willing to go to. Not only to get our attention, but to capture our hearts because He loves us so much. And yet, with all of that I end up generally speaking, pretty much every year at some point during Christmas day listless. There’s like nothing that makes it happen, it just kind of comes blowing in, it is like all of the joy, all of the celebration, all of the gifts, all of the smiles, all of the laughter, all of the joy of the kids. Like a whole month of preparation for the day and maybe that’s part of it, all of this preparation and then it comes and goes and then you wake up and it’s over and it came and went so fast. I think that's…that’s part of it, but then there’s like the reading from…from Revelation today, wrath and judgment in bolts being poured out on the earth, really awful things and it just doesn’t feel like Christmas. And it took many, many years where I just really trying to reconcile the baby Jesus. And then this…this Jesus of judgment in the book of Revelation. Until one year, it just really hit me, this is the same Jesus and how does that work when Jesus came to earth, helpless, but He didn’t grow up and stay helpless. He grew up and rescued the world in udder humility. And then we read in Revelation about an all grown up Jesus who is the all-powerful One, who has come back to earth to eradicate evil like, to destroy the things that are destroying human beings, to eradicate from the world the things that are destroying and consuming His people. And so, over the years I’ve read through the book of Revelation many times and read through this passage on Christmas day, many times. And I’ve begun to realize, this is what He was coming to do. Whether as a little baby or as the resurrected Christ. He’s not mad at people, He’s very mad about the things that destroy people. And very mad about people being willing to participate in things that will not only destroy them but everyone around them. And we hate death. I hate death. I have been touched by it. I hate it, on a day like today. I miss my mom and dad enough to start crying right now just talking about it. I hate that death has separated us. But I love that they are hidden away with Christ in God. I love it that they are with Jesus on this Christmas day, and I love it that His coming, His arrival for us is hope that no goodbye is forever. And what we see happening in Revelation is the destruction of the destroyer, the destruction of the whole system that is kept mankind in bondage, telling us that in the end He will and reign for ever and ever and ever. I want that, I want to see that, I want to be there. I want to see the judgment on death. That death has no more sting, that grave has no more victory, that things that destroy us no longer exist and are no longer categories. And it seems to me as we read the Scriptures, we can love the baby Jesus, but if we want the ultimate victory, we need the warrior risen Christ, who will not put up with evil another minute. And so, we find ourselves in the in between. And I think that is what blows in upon me during Christmas week, during Christmas day. Some people call it the blues, the Christmas blues. That sort of tinge of, I guess almost depression, the blues. I’ve learned that really at its core that feeling at least for me is longing. No matter how we prepare, no matter how much we work, no matter how much joy that we can conjure on Christmas day, we still know that it’s not perfect and no matter how close to perfection we can get, it comes and goes so quickly. And then we got to think about going back to regular life. And there’s longing in that, we want to stay in this place of rejoicing and goodwill toward men and hope. But the work is not yet complete. Time is not full. So, we are here in the chaos of this world as witnesses, or as lights in the darkness, and we endure along with God in His patience, in His love for everyone, that all might know. And we’re invited to collaborate in being a light or a city on a hill or the salt of the earth, we’re not just here helplessly hoping to hide out and wait. We have a very visible role to play in drawing people to Lord. So, I expect that this longing that some of us may feel, is not unlike the longing of those who were waiting for the arrival of the Savior in the first place, wondering when things are going to change, wondering when there will be hope again, wondering when God will come with his mighty power and restore things. And then almost as if in secret, He came and did just that. And we are longing for His return when everything will be back together again. And so, if you end up feeling like that and I know like, I’m talking to brothers and sisters around the Global Campfire, around the world. And so, for some of you there is nobody else, here spending Christmas day by yourself and us being able to spend time together as a community. This is a bright spot in that day, but maybe you’re lonely or maybe there are missing people at the table this year that were there last year or maybe there were relationships that you had last year that you don’t have now, and things look quite different. Or maybe there are new additions around the table this year that are joyful and full of celebration. We’ve got a couple a little baby granddaughters who are just walking and running around and that is, that is about, that is about as close to pure joy as I can get to right now. But regardless of the scenario, if you find a point in your heart where you’re like my feelings do not match the festivities of what is going on. This is a very wonderful celebration, and I am feeling a little off from that feeling. Look inside your heart. We were made for things to be right, and we know they are not right, and we long for them to be put back together and we hope in the Savior for that to happen. And although it is happening. It has not reached its completion. But the further that we walk with Jesus, the more we can see the contrast between His hope for humanity and what we’ve made of this place. We long for restoration. And I have realized that is part of Christmas. The celebration isn’t just because He came, the celebration is that He came and changed everything, and He is coming again. So, if you feel little off at some point today, rest in that, this is the soul crying out to be made whole and the awareness that we cannot make anything perfect on our own. So, may we hope in this child born and laid in a feeding trough from livestock, in the lowliest state in a cave. He’s not a little baby anymore. And if Revelation is indicating anything, it’s indicating that He is not weak or timid. He is our Savior. He is within us. He will never leave or forsake us and one day He will return and make all things new again. Merry Christmas everybody, Merry Christmas. May the joy of the Lord be your strength, may the peace of Christ be with you always. Amen.