December 15, 2021

December 15, 2021

Dear Friends,
 
The idea that God is our Father and that we are His adopted children not completely absent from the Old Testament.  But it’s rare.  God is only referred to as Father fourteen times in all of the Old Testament —and then rather impersonally.  In those fourteen occurrences, the term was always used with reference to God’s relationship with the nation of Israel, and not in regard to individuals.  God was spoken of as Israel’s Father, but Abraham never called God “my Father.”  Neither did Jacob.  Or Joseph.  Or Moses.  Or King David. 
 
In fact, no one in the history of the nation of Israel ever addressed God using the familiar, relational Hebrew word Abba.  No one.  Ever.  But Jesus did.  165 times in the gospels, Jesus calls God His Abba.  And He invites us, as His followers, to do the same.
 
That helps put into perspective the unique designation the prophet Isaiah gives to the coming Messiah.  In addition to describing Him as a wonderful counselor who will also be el Gibbon – the Mighty God – Isaiah says that the child who will be born will be ad ab.  That’s not a typo.  That’s the Hebrew transliteration for the phrase Everlasting Father.  The Son who will be given to us Isaiah says will be the Father of Eternity.
 
That’s the more literal way of translating ad ab.  Warren Wiersbe explains what the term means.  “Among the Jews,” he writes, “the word ‘father’ means ‘originator’ or ‘source.’  For example, Satan is the ‘father [originator] of lies’ (John 8:44, NIV).”  This son who would be given to the Jews was from everlasting.  The paradox is clear.  A baby will be born who is Himself the Father of time.  Songwriter Michael Card says “eternity stepped into time so we could understand.”
 
By putting the two designations back to back – Mighty God and Everlasting Father – Isaiah is highlighting the transcendence and imminence of the one who is to come.  He is an omnipotent ruler of His people.  He is also a Father who rules with kindness and compassion, just as a human father cares for his children.
 
And because He is the originator of eternity, the one Isaiah tells us to expect is the One who is able to bestow eternal life.  He can give it because it belongs to Him.  He is not only eternal Himself.  Eternity is His invention. 
 
The Messianic titles given by Isaiah in the seventh century BC were pointing to the One who would demonstrate by His own life that He is both the Mighty God and the Father of Eternity.  When Jesus told the Pharisees “before Abraham was, I am,” He was identifying Himself as the One about whom Isaiah spoke.  He is our Everlasting Father, born in time and space in a cattle stall in Bethlehem 2000 years ago.   During Advent, we rejoice that He came and we long for Him to come again.
 

CHRISTMAS PHOTO OP!

Remember, if you’re looking for a great place to snap a picture of yourself or your family to share with others this Christmas, we have the living room at church all set up for you.  You bring the camera (AKA your phone) and we’ll have picture takers standing by to take the shot!

TWO CHRISTMAS PARTIES!

There are two – count ‘em – two big parties scheduled to take place at church this week.
 
First, on Saturday night, it’s the Family Christmas Get Together.  The one where everyone wears their jammies (okay, maybe not everyone…).  This is for moms and dads and boys and girls of all ages.  There will be food, fun, games and a showing of A Charlie Brown Christmas.   And I know the flyer here says it’s for parents and kids from age 5 to 5th grade.  But that doesn’t mean you have to leave the younger kids at home.  Bring the babies with you!  But plan on watching them yourself!

Here are the deets.
 

UGLY CHRISTMAS SWEATER PARTY!

CANDLELIGHT & CAROLS SERVICE

Our Candlelight and Carols Christmas Eve service is a little more than a week away.  Have you invited any neighbors?  Friends?  Coworkers?  Now’s the time!  Ask God who you should invite, and then start praying for them now! 
 
 The birth of Jesus was announced with a blazing star – a heavenly light that together with the angels declared that the Light of the World had been born.  We’ll pause our study in John’s Gospel this week to think about what the metaphor of light teaches about the ministry of the Messiah.
 
See you in church.
 
Soli Deo Gloria!
Pastor Bob

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