This is my 400th post on this blog, which I started just over 3 years ago. Little did I know at that time all that lay ahead of me, and very glad I am that I didn’t. You can never fully prepare for the unexpected, so I think the best way to deal with life is to welcome the element of surprise that makes you re-appraise your situation, and find the positive in it.
Today is also the First Sunday in Advent, and I have just received a message from a friend in Israel with a slightly different take on the Christmas Shepherds who saw the Angels as they watched over their sheep in the hills near Bethlehem. In her latest Newslettter, Meridel writes:
“Good news from Heaven first came to shepherds in the fields of Bethlehem. I want to share the great significance of WHY and WHERE Jesus was born. YES, He was placed in a manger just like all sacrificial lambs at Migdal Eder or Tower of the Flock near Bethlehem. The angels brought a profound revelation of Messiah to shepherds, who were no ordinary men. Their work involved wrapping the newborn lambs in swaddling clothes and laying them in rock-hewn mangers, wooden stalls or cribs. Why? Because these lambs were dedicated for Temple sacrifices, males for sin offerings and females for peace offerings.
The prophet Micah 4:8 hints at Israel’s ruler coming from here: And you, O tower of the flock, Migdal Eder the stronghold of the daughter of Zion, to you shall come, even the former dominion shall come, the Kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem. A brilliant star and hosts of angels heralded the “good news” to amazed temple shepherds. The child was given as the Savior of humanity, promised Messiah, Passover Lamb, destined to be the Shepherd-King Messiah.”
Something that has finally penetrated my woolly brain is that I should change my attitude towards a person who has been annoying me. I have been wishing this person would go away, or would undergo some kind of transformation into the person I would ideally like him to be. I was gently reminded this morning, as I was coincidentally preparing a lamb dinner, that God loves us all equally and feels as kindly towards this thorn in my flesh as He does to me. If I want that person to change, I need to change my perspective and the way I treat him. I was reminded that we will all be judged by the same standards that we apply to others, and that we should do unto others as we should be done by. It’s the only path to peace, both internal and external.
So my 400th post has inadvertently turned into a mini-sermon as we go into Advent. That, like much that has happened in the last 3 years, has surprised me! Whatever your views on Christianity – or any other faith – I hope you will agree with me that the message of the Angels can only be fulfilled if we really do treat others as we would wish to be treated.
God bless you all.