This morning I was thinking about my list. If you or someone you love is a list person, you know how this works. We make lists. Of everything. Because it is so much fun to cross things off that list. Some of us have even been known to add things to the list that were not on there originally after we have done them, just so we can mark them off. Mr. Marvelous always rolls his eyes at that part. My sisters understand.
I was thinking about my list. What do I need to get done today? What can I do to celebrate Advent today?
I like to sit down and read my Bible before I start making my list. I prefer to pray over the list and ask God just what it is that HE wants me to do for the day. I decided to read in Matthew this morning and look for God's promises to me in the books of Matthew and Luke this month. There I found my celebration.
Once again, I was struck by the promise of the name Jesus is given in Matthew 1:23.
God is with us
It may have been a while since you read through the book of Leviticus. It is not the easiest book for most of us to read; the details and minutia of the law are challenging at best. There are lots of good lessons to be found there though. This details how God's people could approach God.
God could not be approached directly; He is completely holy and we are, even at our best, completely not holy. Sins had to be atoned for. Offerings had to be made. There were sin offerings, guilt offerings, and peace offerings, just to name a few. Even if you completed the ritual cleansing and all these offerings that were required, the best you could hope for ~ unless you were the high priest ~ was to be able to stand in the courtyard outside the temple. Go in the temple? Oh no! You see, God was in the temple. Only the one high priest was allowed to go in, only once a year. He wore bells around the bottom of his robe and a rope tied to his ankle. This was because if he came in without doing everything precisely the way God told him to, God would strike him. God could not and can not allow unholiness in His presence. If the bells stopped ringing, the people knew that the high priest had fallen and they dragged his body out.
This just barely scratches the surface of how people approached God in the Old Testament.
Now look at that name again.
God is with us
Right now I am sitting in my living room in my sweats and a t-shirt. My house has not been tidied up yet and the breakfast dishes are in the sink. The laundry is running. The bathrooms are waiting for my attention. The floors have not been swept. There are a few dust-bunnies in the hallway. I have offered no sacrifices this morning, other than the sacrifice of praise. No burnt offerings, no sin offerings, no guilt offerings, no peace offerings. But God Himself is right here with me in this room. On Sunday Mr. Marvelous and I plan to be at church. We will walk in to a little room with chairs. There will be a piano and a couple of guitars. There will be wiggling children. You would probably look in the windows or even walk in the door and not think that there is anything particularly special about the room where we meet. But God will be there. He will meet with us. There is no veil separating us from God.
The sacrifices have all been finished. The guilt offering, the sin offering and the peace offering that Jesus made on the cross were so great and so complete, that there is no need for any more to be offered.
The veil has been torn from top to bottom.
God is with us.
And so I can say,
His peace to your hearts and homes.