How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings glad tidings, announcing peace, bearing good news, announcing salvation, saying to Zion, "Your God is King!".
Hark! Your sentinels raise a cry, together they shout for joy, for they see directly, before their eyes, the Lord restoring Zion. Break out together in song, O ruins of Jerusalem! For the Lord comforts His people, He redeems Jerusalem. The Lord has bared His holy arm in the sight of all the nations; all the ends of earth will behold the salvation of our God.(P) The word of the Lord.
Sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done wondrous deeds; His right hand has won victory for Him, His holy arm. (R)
The Lord has made His salvation known: in the sight of the nations He has revealed His justice. He has remembered His kindness and His faithfulness toward the house of Israel. (R)
All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation by our God. Sing joyfully to the Lord, all you lands; break into song; sing praise. (R)
Sing praise to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and melodious song. With trumpets and the sound of the horn sing joyfully before the King, the Lord. (R)
Brothers and sisters: In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets; in these last days, He has spoken to us through the Son, whom He made heir of all things and through whom He created the universe, who is the refulgence of His glory, the very imprint of His being, and who sustains all things by His mighty word. When He had accomplished purification from sins, He took His seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high, as far superior to the angels as the name He has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
For to which of the angels did God ever say: You are my son; this day I have begotten you or again: I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me? And again, when He leads the firstborn into the world, He says: Let all the angels of God worship him.(P) The word of the Lord.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through Him, and without Him nothing came to be. What came to be through Him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him.
But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God. These are they who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man's decision but of God. And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth. John testified to him and cried out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, the one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me." From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father's side, has revealed Him.(P) The Gospel of the Lord.
A patrol police officer once saw a young man strolling around a park alone, late at night. Having become quite concerned, the officer approached the man and asked him, "Hello, young man, what are you doing out here so late at night?" The man replied, "Sir, I lost my sleep somewhere and I am searching for it."
For some reason, a lot of people in today's world feel that they have lost not just their sleep but also their happiness, joy, peace, purpose and meaning in their lives and, therefore, they keep searching for them. Believe it or not, there are also many people who feel that they do not know who they are and where they are going. If you are going through a similar experience, please remember that you are not alone. Instead, you can look to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, whose birth we are commemorating at this Holy Festival of Christmas. Let me tell you another story.
Once there was a rich man who, with his only son, had a passion for collecting art. They had collected most of the rare works by great artists in the world and displayed them in their house so as to be fairly seen and appreciated by others. They also often sat together and appreciated those works. But one day when a war broke out, the son left home to serve his country. A few weeks later, his father was notified that his son had been killed while rescuing a fellow soldier.
About a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock on the door. As the father opened the door, he was greeted by a soldier with a large package in his hand. The soldier introduced himself to the father saying, "I was a friend of your son. I was the soldier for whom your son gave his life. Your son often talked about you, and your love for art. And then handing him the package, the soldier said, "I'm not really a great artist but I think your son would want you to have this." The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the soldier. Though it may never be considered a masterpiece, the father was very much captivated by the painting because the soldier had captured the personality of his son so well. He thanked the soldier and offered to pay him for the portrait. But the soldier declined, saying that it was just a gift. Then he went away.
A few months later the old man became ill and died. An auction was held to sell all of the art works, and art collectors from around the world gathered to bid on some of the great paintings. The auction began with the painting of the man's son. The collectors were a little surprised that the first painting on the auction was the soldier's modest rendering of the man's son. The auctioneer pounded his gavel and asked, "Who will open the bidding with $100? There was complete silence. Then someone from the crowd callously called out, "Who cares about this painting? It's just a picture of his son. Let us skip this one and go on to the important paintings."
Many other people echoed in agreement. But the auctioneer replied, "No, we have to see that this painting goes first. Now, who will take the son?" Finally, a voice came from the back of the room. It was the old gardener who had worked all his life for the father and his son. "I would like to have it. l will bid the $100", he said. The auctioneer called, "Will anyone go higher?" But no one wanted to bid higher. Of course, and by all means, they didn't want the picture of the son. Instead they wanted the more famous paintings for their collections. After a long silence, the auctioneer pounded the gavel and said, "Going once. Going twice. Sold for $100." Cheers filled the room and someone shouted, "Now let's get on with the rest of the collection." But the auctioneer laid down his gavel and announced, "The auction is over." In stunned disbelief someone spoke up and asked, "What do you mean it's over? What about all other paintings? They are worth millions of dollars." The auctioneer replied, "I'm sorry. According to the will of the father, whoever takes the son, gets it all."
Today on this special day of Christmas, we are told that the will of God the Father is, "whoever takes His Son, Jesus, gets all things". Yes, indeed, "all things" as Jesus Himself has promised to supply every need we have when we ask in prayer, full of faith, Matthew (21:22) and John (14:13; 16:23).
The Bible is filled with hundreds of what the apostle Peter called "most extraordinary and precious promises", 2 Peter (1:4). These promises are not like the casual, incidental, unimportant promises which we, human beings, so often readily make to one another and then forget. For various reasons, we easily change our minds and break our promises. But God is not like us; He doesn't change His mind. His promises are definite, explicit declarations that we can count on, Numbers (23:19). Because He alone is "trustworthy in all He promises and faithful in all He does", we can have full assurance that what He has pledged will indeed be realized in our lives, Psalm (145:13). What is significant is that in each promise God pledges what will or will not be done or be given or come to pass.
We can divide God's promises into Old Testament Promises and New Testament Promises. The following are some of the promises found in the Old Testament:
The following are some of the promises which we read in the New Testament:
Beside these promises, the gospels record many other promises that our Lord Jesus Christ has made during His time on earth.
What is the message for us?
The celebration of Christmas each year serves to remind each and every one of us that God has made these promises to us, and He keeps them, and that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, Hebrews (13:8). God never changes. He has proved His trustworthiness by sending His Son Jesus, the long-promised "Emmanuel" meaning "God with us", and has made all His promises available to us through Jesus, Matthew (1:22-23).
As Apostle Paul writes, "In Him all the promises of God have come to be an Yes", 2 Corinthians (1:20). That is, just as the gardener in the story who bought the portrait of the son and consequently was able to inherit the entire estate, including all the paintings, we are reminded today that when we come to Jesus Christ; when we accept and believe in Jesus as our Saviour, not some of the promises or part of the promises but all the promises of God find their "Yes" in Christ; all the promises are ours immediately and fully.
I wish you and your families and friends a Happy and Blessed Christmas. May God bless you and keep you!