Friday, December 13, 2013

Meditations on the Winter Pascha - The Sunday of the Holy Forefathers and The Sunday Before Christmas

Two Sundays before Christmas is the commemoration of the Holy Forefathers - those righteous men and women who shone as examples through their faith in God even before the promised Messiah had come.

Let us offer praise to the fathers
Who shone forth before and during the Law;
With righteous minds they served the Lord and Master 
Who shone forth from the Virgin,
And now they delight in the unending Light. 

These were people who had faith in God and who firmly believed that He would fulfill His promise to send the Messiah. They lived their entire lives for Him. People like Moses, David, Noah, Hannah, Deborah, Esther, Daniel, Elijah; the list goes on and on.

God's holy people live for Him alone, for the living God and for His Word. Their reason for being is to praise God, not only in words but in deeds, and so to live. 

The holy forefathers and mothers, together with all their descendants, have chosen life. 

These men and women chose to believe and then they lived their choice. They lived their lives by acting on what they had understood in their hearts. They realized that to worship God was the only way to life and so they purposefully pursued God in everything. They faced hardship and sometimes persecution, but they persevered, even without having lived to see God's promise fulfilled.

For their faith was in the One who has acted in our time in fulfillment of the promises first made to them, and then through them to us, their spiritual children. Since this is so, we must imitate their faith, acquire their courage, and embody their power, so that we can in turn become the inheritors of their blessings. 

They made a choice and they faced all the consequences of that choice, both good and bad. The same choice lies before each one of us and God loves us so much that whether we choose Him or reject Him, He will not force us in the decision.

The consequence of Adam and Eve's disobedience to God was death. It was the result of their choice to turn away. But God is so loving that He was not content to leave it at that. He wants each of us to live. So He sent His Son.

Probably one of the most striking examples of choice in the Old Testament is that of Abraham.  God gave Abraham a son and then He asked Abraham to sacrifice him.Abraham went and prepared to do what God has asked, and when God saw that Abraham was willing to obey, even though it meant giving up the son he had waited so long for and who was so dear to him, God spared Isaac. Abraham chose Life - he chose God over his own beloved son - and God was pleased and honored that choice by allowing Isaac to live.

But when it came time for Jesus to fulfill His purpose here, there was no sparing of life: God loves us so much that He sacrificed His own Son for our sake that we might have life. Jesus chose to follow the will of the Father in order to bring us back to Him.

This is why we celebrate Christmas: we celebrate the fact that Jesus Christ came to give us life through His death.

The celebration of the Winter Pascha is a celebration of Life in God's Word.

And now it is up to us to choose. We have seen God's promise fulfilled; therefore let us choose life with open hearts.




2 comments:

  1. Lisa, I am not caught up on your Winter Pascha series, but what I have read I really enjoyed. Thank you for taking the time to help me reflect in this very busy season of my life. I really like your writing style. I hope I can spare some time this weekend to catch up. Thanks again.

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    1. I'm glad you like it. Thanks for reading!

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