Christmas is always that time of year when it seems like the whole world is in a festive mood no matter the race or religious background. I personally have many friends who are not (yet) Christian but love this time year. I once asked a close not-yet-believer friend of mine why he enjoyed this time of year so much.
I expected him to respond with the standard reasoning that it was the culmination of the year gone and the excitement and hope that comes with starting a new year. But his response took me by surprise when he answered, “Well, everyone feels so connected and happy! It’s catchy!”
I have always loved the Christmas festive season. Living in South Africa, it’s the Summer school holidays and hailing from the East Coast seaside town of Durban it’s always about the beach, bikinis, sun, surf, sand. “Sun’s out – guns out” as we are fond of saying! I was privileged to spend a few Christmas holidays in the USA with my mentor, Kim Clement and his family, and enjoyed the cold and the snow too! I just like Christmas! It’s my favourite holiday of them all.
Christmas is special! It’s like the world somehow changes its persona. People all over the world no matter their religious persuasions seem to sense something in the atmosphere that connects them to other souls. The Hosts of Heaven called it – “peace on earth and goodwill to men.“
That Heavenly Hosts pronouncement has echoed throughout the earth for over two millennia and is ringing out even today over you and I. If you incline your ear to the spiritual atmosphere and lean in, you can almost hear the whisper echoing in your own soul. Peace on the earth. Good will toward men.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
” Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace,
good will toward men.”
Do you realise that Heaven made a proclamation two thousand years ago that is still in effect over your life today? Peace, benevolence, compassion, kind-heartedness, big-heartedness, goodness, consideration, charity, friendliness, thoughtfulness, decency! This is the blessing you host or carry in your soul as a recipient of Heaven’s proclamation. This is what makes the season so festive and joyous. It is because of the prophetic blessing in the very atmosphere of our planet!
In the original Greek it actually reads this way: “Glory in the highest places to God, and upon earth let there be peace among men of goodwill!“
What it means is that peace becomes your portion as we show and sow goodwill toward each other and as we display the character of goodwill in our own lives!
Essentially – as you nurture kindness and charity and compassion and benevolence and generosity in your own soul you receive a portion of peace!
I did a little word study on Greek roots of “peace” and love the definition of the word eirēnē : a blissful state of exemption from the rage and havoc of chaos!
WOW! Isn’t that incredible? The more generosity and kindness we nurture and grow, and show and sow, characterises us as men and women of goodwill and as such we become the hosts of Heaven’s two thousand year old proclamation that we may enter into and enjoy a blissful state of exemption from the rage and havoc of chaos!
I want that! How about you?
Christmastime reminds me that Jesus was, and is, and forever will be a gift to the whole world. Not to the ‘country club of the saved!’ Not to a select few – but to all who desire to live in that blissful state! Of course this is the time of year when shop windows are decorated, malls are buzzing, Christmas carols ring out in shopping centres and public spaces with everyone humming along. It is joyous and festive and happy! I just love it!
Walking through one of our local malls I noticed a crowd of people taking pictures of some kind of exhibition. My curiosity kindled, I decided to take a look and lo and behold it was a very well set out large nativity scene! I’m sure you’ve seen a few – statue depictions of Mary, Joseph, a baby in a manger, possibly some livestock, winged and haloed angels in attendance above it all, and of course – three regal looking strangers bearing gifts! It was this aspect that brought to mind something I learned in earlier years.
Nativity scenes around the world display these “strangers.” Songs and poems have been written about them. They are featured in movies, plays, and Sunday school skits. They are some of the most recognisable figures in our culture as nearly everyone has seen images of “three wise men” riding on camels and following a star. They are, of course, the Magi.
What’s the deal with the Magi anyway?
First – there weren’t three wisemen! The scriptures record that three gifts were given (gold, frankincense and myrrh). It has been a common assumption that each gift was given by an individual and hence most depictions show three travellers!
The Greek word mάgoi is translated as “wise men” in the NKJV, KJV, and ESV, while the NASB and NIV use the word magi. Originally, the word often referred to a class of Persian wise men, and possibly priests, who were interpreters of special signs, particularly in astrology. Eventually, the word was used variously to refer to one who possessed supernatural knowledge and ability, a magician, or even one of noble abilities!
The book of Matthew contains the account of the Magi:
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”
The original meaning of mάgoi is likely – men skilled in the art of interpreting special signs. There are at least two reasons for this identification. First, they acknowledged that they were interested in signs in the heavens. Second, the Bible states that they were from “the East,” which would be in the direction of Babylon and ancient Persia where this was widely embraced.
Second, they could not have found Jesus as a “babe in a manger!” Jesus is called a “young child” instead of babe at the time that the Magi arrived. And they most certainly could not have met him in a stable!
And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Third. Let’s not assume by any means that these visitors from Persia (now Iran) were followers of the Hebrew traditions. They may have respected them, but that is not the same as observing them. In fact the weight of the historical evidence of practitioners of these arts can leave us with the only logical conclusion that they were not practitioners of Judaism.
Since the passage in Matthew implies that they were observers of the stars, most conclude that the intended meaning of magos is “astrologer-priests.”
Indeed, John Wycliffe’s translation of the Gospel reads not “wise men” but “astrologers” because in ancient times “astrology” encompassed both astrology & astronomy. Ludolph of Saxony (1378) wrote this in his famous Vita Christi –
The travellers were called Magi not because they were magicians but because of the great science of astrology which was theirs. Those whom the Hebrews called scribes and the Greeks, philosophers, and the Latins, wise men – the Persians called Magi. And the reason that they were called kings is that in those days it was the custom for the philosophers and wise men to be rulers.
All very interesting but the question remains: How was is that the very elect of Israel missed the birth of the King of Kings and instead God spoke quite clearly to those we would conventionally disregard as being authentic or even hearing the God of Gods speak to them?
I believe that there is a deep truth obscured by our conventional Christian thinking lurking within “the frequency of the white” (between the lines) of the Scriptures. A truth that would still apply even today. If we read on further we come across this interesting portion of text:
And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.
Who did the dream come from? Yes that’s right! The Divine God!
I have come to understand after many years of ministry in the prophetic, that God truly does speak “one way or another” as Job puts it. But that God is not restricted whatsoever in speaking to anyone at anytime in any manner He chooses!
The truth is that the One True God is still calling out today to men and women of all nations, races, religious persuasions! Most often, we fail to hear because we are not actively seeking to hear from the True God. The world is in the grip of what I call the “Pseudo-Voice” – the false voice of Humanism and even dark light. But if we earnestly want to hear the God of Light speak – we will!
God Most High, Possessor of Heaven and Earth, speaks in signs, in wonders, in emotions, in the stillness, in storms, in ways we can grasp and in ways beyond our conscious understanding!
When the friend I mentioned earlier responded with, “Well, everyone feels so connected and happy! It’s catchy!” – what he was really saying is that he was experiencing an undefined response to something (Someone) that was reaching out and touching him in a way he could not explain, but certainly sense.
This is what Christmas does! Christ was and is and forever will be – the ultimate gift of love to the world!
This is the crux of it Warriors! God is speaking to everyone, to anyone with an ear and an inclination to hear! Not just the Christian.
But for someone, anyone, to hear, they first have to believe there is a One True God and that if they were to reach out to Him through faith in Christ, they would discover that He is already reaching out to each of and everyone of us on the planet. He is not far from anyone of us. This is the gift and the spirit of Christmas.
Reach Out in Good Will
Earlier I wrote that you can become the host of Heaven’s 2000 year old proclamation of a blissful state of exemption from havoc and the chaos of conflict as you exercise goodwill in acts of kindness and generosity and compassion.
All too often during this time of year we become absorbed in our own merriment and frivolity and so focused on ourselves that we neglect a heart for others and indeed the spiritual dynamics of “it is better to give than to receive!“
But what better way to exercise acts of goodwill and reactivate in your life and on behalf of your family, the blessing of Heaven’s Proclamation of Peace as we countdown to Christmas 2019, than to sow a special Christmas gift from your heart to the feet of Jesus through the ministry of the Prophet.
Open you heart. Let God speak into it. Act in Goodwill!
We love and appreciate you! I am so excited for what lies ahead of us all. The Spirit of God has whispered to me many secrets of future. Watch out for our upcoming 2020 (which I’ve called 20x and will reveal as New Year approaches ) prophetic bulletin and step into your future with wisdom, insight, perception and anticipation of what God desires to release to you and for you to possess!
I love old movies and Judy Garland’s 1944 classic, Meet Me in St. Louis, featured a timeless seasonal song “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” – which is my all time favourite Christmas song. You know the tune, so sing it out with me as a prophetic blessing over your and your families!
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
From now on your troubles will be out of sight
So have yourself a merry little Christmas now.
From my family to yours, I take this opportunity to wish you a very blessed, and Merry Christmas! May the Gift of Peace be a personal portion to you and your families as you celebrate this Christmas! Feel Connected. Be Happy. It’s Catchy!
I’m seeing you in the Future!