From the entire Concordia family to yours: Merry Christmas! Today’s post comes from Concordia Chaplain Rev. Ron Cox. Concordia has an excellent Chaplaincy Department that actively contributes to our patients’ and residents’ spritual well being. Enjoy!
Our celebrations of Christmas bring a lot of nostalgia. Hallmark knows that. Merchants sell us ornaments and keepsakes to last and to add to throughout the years. Nostalgia isn’t necessarily bad. Most of us have fond childhood memories of a golden age and “this old house” where we grew up. “Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home!”
Home was under threat for God’s people at the time of Jeremiah the prophet. Zion was their home. This time “home” means a whole country, a whole nation, a whole people. Jerusalem was under siege by the Babylonians and their king, Nebuchadnezzar.
Over time the church of the Old Testament had really messed things up. Jeremiah had made it clear to all: Both king and palace had forsaken their God. They had followed the ways of the world and the false religious practices of the world. So happened in God’s holy history the Babylonian captivity.
But Jeremiah had a bigger picture. He knew God’s judgement, but he knew that this was part of a larger plan, not just to destroy and kill, but to restore and make alive. The home of the king and people was lost, but God has an everlasting love for his people, and what does he promise,
In those days and at that time, I will cause a righteous branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which Jerusalem will be called: God is our righteousness. (Jeremiah 33:14-16)
Imagine how the folks from Jerusalem felt when they woke up in Babylon! This wasn’t an exotic vacation to see the Chaldean hanging gardens; they were in exile far from home.
Yet, for them and for us, God has provided a place, right here on earth, in space and in time, where he calls us home. It is a place far greater than any capital city in the world. It is even greater that the most loving and safe home for any family and extended family. It is a place where true peace and justice, righteousness and salvation are to be found.
You see, back then in the time of Jeremiah, God promised a king and city that only he could provide. Yes, the kingdom and the city that his people had messed up had to be destroyed, but God found a way to punish sin and yet save the people.
He promised a new and better king from the house and lineage of David, but not just another David. God promised a new and better city, which would be called righteous.
So it came to pass in the time of Jesus, there was one born of the house and lineage of David, to be a new and greater David. David’s son, yes, but also David’s Lord. Jesus came to provide a new and greater temple and city, where God would dwell on earth in the midst of his people. God’s beloved Son enters our world, our history, to save us.
Have you been away from home too long? You know the feeling. Deep inside we long for a home that is safe and sound. A Savior is born to give us a home in his kingdom.
Joy to the world, the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room…
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