Saturday, January 3, 2009

The 10th Day of Christmas

As we approach the end of the Christmas Season, our scriptures seem to be getting even more joyful! As we reflect on the God revealed to us in the baby Jesus, we discover a God of strength, compassion, and love. In Jesus, we see the God who hears the cries of his people and responds. And it seems that the most appropriate response to this God is that of joyful gratitude and praise. Hear the words of the prophet Jeremiah:

For thus says the LORD: "Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob, and raise shouts for the chief of the nations; proclaim, give praise, and say, 'The LORD has saved his people, the remnant of Israel.' Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth, among them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her who is in travail, together; a great company, they shall return here. With weeping they shall come, and with consolations I will lead them back, I will make them walk by brooks of water, in a straight path in which they shall not stumble; for I am a father to Israel, and E'phraim is my first-born.

Hear the word of the LORD, O nations, and declare it in the coastlands afar off; say, 'He who scattered Israel will gather him, and will keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock.' For the LORD has ransomed Jacob, and has redeemed him from hands too strong for him. They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion, and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the LORD, over the grain, the wine, and the oil, and over the young of the flock and the herd; their life shall be like a watered garden, and they shall languish no more. Then shall the maidens rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy, I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow. I will feast the soul of the priests with abundance, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, says the LORD." Jeremiah 31:7-14
Of course, Jeremiah would be the first to tell you that following God is not always easy or fun. Because God is loving and just and does want what is best for us and the world he so loves, sometimes coming face to face with God is more an occasion for lament than dance (why else would Herod, the chief priests and scribes and "all of Jerusalem" tremble in fear at the thought of the baby Jesus?) Come Lent, we spend time facing those fears and lamenting our sins. But for today, let's join the Ten lords leaping with thie nine ladies as we celebrate what God has done for us and for this world he so loves in Christ Jesus!

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