From the desk of Steve Shultz:
As we have just entered the kick-off of the Christmas season, let us NOT forget the true meaning of Christmas which is Emmanuel, "God with us". This is an excellent word by the Chavdas as we prepare for a season of miracles and visitation.
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We Are in a Season of Miracles and Visitation
In the High Church traditions, last weekend marked the first Sunday of Advent, a time of preparation and anticipation of the appearing of the Christ of Christmas. The Advent Season is about telling the story of Christ's birth. It is about awakening our spiritual senses, making room for miracles, opening our hearts, and sharing the Light of the world. The lights, the gifts, the special time we spend with our family are all tiny glimpses into the real awe and wonder of this season, and give us opportunity to imprint our lives with the reality of God's most wonderful gift.
Rehearse His Miracles
The Hebrew word zakhor occurs in Scripture more than 150 times. It means "remember." Time and time again, God said, "Teach this to your children. Remember how I brought you up out of Egypt. Rehearse My miracles." God was interested in more than a history lesson. God called Israel to rehearse, relive, celebrate, and enter again into the miracles He had done for them. Every person was involved in the rehearsal.
The story of their past was the testimony of God's presence in their midst. When you preserve the story, you exalt the Lord of Glory who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. You pass on the mighty acts of the Holy Spirit, and open the door for God to do it again. On the contrary, when you lose the story, you lose the living connection and expectation of God's miracles and power.
The same admonition God gave Israel is true for us today. Christmas is the story of the acts of the Holy Spirit. It is fulfillment of the promise of salvation prophesied from the beginning of time. The Babe that was born in Bethlehem is the living story of our faith. Born of a virgin, the Savior, our King came as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. As we gather at this time of year to exalt Jesus and recount the wonderful gift God gave in His Son, we are imprinting on our lives and our children the reality of God's presence, "God with us" here and now. He is eternal, and thus remembering draws the past into our present to change our future. We charge our atmosphere with God's glory, love, and power.
Watch In Expectation
Thus Advent is always about arrival. In this season of anticipation and joy about the coming of the Lord as a Babe, we are watching in expectation of His return at the end of the age. In the intervening years between these events, Advent is a reminder to watch for His coming in our daily lives, seeking to always be awakened to His voice and presence, and carriers of His good news with power to all we touch.
We know that in our nation for the last few years there is a war on Christmas. No matter how you commercialize it, sanitize it, or try to secularize it, Christmas is about a Person, Jesus Christ. The opposition to all things Christmas is opposition to the Anointed One, Christos, the Christ child that was born in Bethlehem. As we celebrate this day, we are participating in the prophecy of Isaiah: "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light..." (Isaiah 9:2). Christmas is always about hope and salvation. The world is sitting in darkness, but there is a promise always of His Light.
Last year in her Christmas address to the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth II made a proclamation of the Gospel that is a prophetic sign. While many nations are replacing "Christmas" with "holiday" and banning all reference to Christ, she spoke over all of England and the Commonwealth:
God sent into the world a unique Person – neither a philosopher or a general – important though they are – but a Savior, with the power to forgive...
In the last verse of this beautiful carol, O Little Town of Bethlehem, there's a prayer:
O Holy Child of Bethlehem
Descend to us we pray
Cast out our sin
And enter in
Be born in us today
It is my prayer that on this Christmas day we might all find room in our lives for the message of the angels and for the love of God through Christ our Lord.
The words spoken by Isaiah fulfilled that first Christmas night continue to come alive through all who share His light. We believe that even now we are in a season of visitation. God is giving us signs that we are in a time of visitation. It may be invisible in the crowding darkness, but those who are watching in expectation can see.
Make Room For the Savior
Advent is a call to prepare our hearts and our minds to be like Mary when she said, "Be it unto me according to Thy Word." The apostle Paul wrote the Galatians, "My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you" (Galatians 4:19).
The Seed of Heaven has been sown in our hearts. We are eternal people with the heavenly nature of God in us. We have a testimony that is both personal and eternal. Our lives are joined to the events that took place in Bethlehem, and an active part of the unfolding events that will come.
The more we, like Mary, give ourselves over to Christ being formed in us, saying to the Father, "Not my will but Your will be done," the more we will harmonize with the coming visitation in our generation, participate in His miracles, and ultimately usher in the glorious appearing of Christ at the end of the age. If Christ is in you, you are the light of the world where you are. Where you are, Christ has come!
Remember Christ our Savior was born this Christmas day!
So this Christmas, we encourage you to tell the story. Share it with your children. Demonstrate God's love and light to your friends and neighbors. Watch in expectation for God to move. Let us enter into our hour of visitation. We are in a season of miracles.
Mahesh and Bonnie Chavda
Chavda Ministries International
Mahesh and Bonnie Chavda have been releasing the reality of Heaven's power for salvation, healing, deliverance and transformation for over thirty-five years. In that time more than a million people have come to salvation and thousands more have received healing from critical diseases like AIDS and Stage-IV cancer. Both Mahesh and Bonnie desire that every person be fully awakened to Jesus and flourish with power and purpose for living! Mahesh and Bonnie pastor All Nations Church and spearhead a global prayer network, The Watch of the Lord.