Isaiah 43:1 But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. 3 For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you. 4 Because you are precious in my sight, and honoured, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life. 5 Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you; 6 I will say to the north, "Give them up," and to the south, "Do not withhold; bring my sons from far away and my daughters from the end of the earth-- 7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made." 8 Bring forth the people who are blind, yet have eyes, who are deaf, yet have ears! 9 Let all the nations gather together, and let the peoples assemble. Who among them declared this, and foretold to us the former things? Let them bring their witnesses to justify them, and let them hear and say, "It is true." 10 You are my witnesses, says the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. 11 I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior. 12 I declared and saved and proclaimed, when there was no strange god among you; and you are my witnesses, says the LORD. 13 I am God, and also henceforth I am He; there is no one who can deliver from my hand; I work and who can hinder it?
This is the time of year where people gather “from the east...west...north...south”. Families come together for Christmas, and there is opportunity for re-connecting with family and friends. The image that this evokes is one where people greet each other “by name” – this is where family know each other well enough to know each other’s nicknames and personal stories. This is the image of a Creator who is ‘family’ – who calls each human being by name.
Christmas reminds us that the Creator of the Universe chooses to enter the life of a family and become personal. Christmas challenges us to bear witness to the blind, the deaf and to those who are scattered that a Saviour has come to live amongst us.
5. All things New
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 39.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.