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"...to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor
and the day of vengeance of our God."
That seemingly small space in between those two lines? That is where we live. Between a proclamation and a promised return. Look at all that has happened in that in between. A Messiah coming as a baby being the greatest thing. Years later, standing as a man in a synagogue, He says that He is the fulfillment of that proclamation. He was the Lord's favor. A man, who was born a baby just like us, but who was God all the same, His Son. A Savior, Messiah, the Lord.
And now, we live in the in-between. The already, but not yet. Watching and waiting as days grow darker, yet brighter each day. What has happened in those in-between days? Life born, then taken by death. Marriages. Wars. Famines. Empires fallen. Markets crashed. Buildings built and buildings destroyed. In the midst of pandemics and politics, isn't there also to be found joy, laughter, and happiness? The days grow darker, but also brighter. For the day of His return has yet to come. The day of our hope and faith becoming sight. For we know if He proclaimed a coming and fulfilled it, He will do the same for His return.
And what awaits us at the return? Comfort, beauty, joy, praise, splendor, and redemption. What has been destroyed will be rebuilt. What devastated once will be renewed. Shame erased. Everlasting joy will be ours. The Lord loves justice and He is faithful, so we know this in-between living is not to be forever. Look again at Isaiah 61:2, there is promise for two proclamations. One for the day of the Lord's favor and the day of His vengeance.
There needs to be no fear in the word vengeance, if we are His. Remember the things that come with His return. Joy, praise, spender, and redemption. If not His? He is still a God that loves justice and it may seem cruel to undergo punishment. Eternal separation, void of any joy, praise, or splendor. To stay in destruction and see no rebuilding. But how cruel to see the eyes of one who loves you, who came for you and chose you. How cruel to see Him come near, remember first as a baby, a light in your darkness. How cruel to have Him so near and then turn around? So not your eyes He sees, but your back?
He did not reject us, but us Him.
Will we turn around and return to Redemption?
"The shipwrecked at the stable are the poor in spirit who feel lost in the cosmos, adrift on an open sea, clinging with a life-and-death desperation to the one solitary plank. Finally they are washed ashore and make their way to the stable, stripped of the old spirit of possessiveness in regard to anything...They are not concerned with their own emotional security or any of the trinkets of creation. They have been saved, rescued, delivered from the waters of death, set free for. a new shot at life. At the stable in a blinding moment of truth, they make the stunning discovery that Jesus is the plank of salvation they have been clinging to without knowing it!
In their integrity the shipwrecked preserve the meaning of Christmas in its pristine purity - the birthday of the Savior and the eruption of the messianic era into history. This Christmas, may you belong to their number." -- Brennan Manning, Shipwrecked at the Stable
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