Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas Countdown, Day 16

Day 16: Jeremiah 31:31-34

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord,    “when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel    and with the people of Judah.It will not be like the covenant    I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand    to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant,    though I was a husband to them,”declares the Lord.“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel    after that time,” declares the Lord.“I will put my law in their minds    and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,    and they will be my people.
No longer will they teach their neighbor,    or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’because they will all know me,    from the least of them to the greatest,”declares the Lord.“For I will forgive their wickedness    and will remember their sins no more.”
I truly love this scripture.  These words are directly from the Lord. He is promising a covenant of forgiveness and eternal life.
Because of that sweet Baby born in a manger, God forgives our wickedness.  Because He loves us enough to send his one and only Son to us, He remembers our sins no more.

One of my very favorite Christmas songs is O Holy Night.  It is a rare occasion when I can hear it and not cry.  I don't believe I've ever been able to sing it all the way through without my voice cracking.  You are probably familiar with the first verse, but take a moment to read through all three verses.
As you read, imagine that you've been hanging onto these words from Jeremiah 31.  You know that God has promised this new covenant and you've heard that the Messiah has come.

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
O'er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friends.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

The slave is our brother - do not forget this.  The Lord says in Jeremiah 31 that "they will all know me."  He came for each and every one of us whether we accept it or not.  The man still in bondage is longed for by our Savior.  The woman who refuses to believe is desired by the King.  

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