Christmas And The Loud Cry: Its About The Cross

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Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. (Psalms 23:4)

thick clouds
thick clouds

I know some people who are facing the ugly spectre of death and dying (cancer and other things), this year over the holidays. I myself have been struggling with what some people are going through this year. It will not be a holiday for many people.

I have been contemplating this verse from the 23rd Psalms as a result. It seems to be a passage that many people, sometimes even non-christians will quote at funerals and such, in an effort to seek comfort, guidance, and strength. Psalms 23:4 has some focus on “the valley of the shadow of death,” and the psalmist tells us therein that “I am not afraid.” It would seem that from the text; it is suggested that God’s presence is what makes the Psalmist feel this way.

Death casts a frightening shadow over us because we are entirely powerless to stop it. We can struggle with other enemies such as pain, suffering, disease, injury—but strength and courage cannot overcome death. It seems to have the final word. That is, until we read the 23rd Psalm. Apparently, God is present, with both His “rod and staff,” and these three things are what have the last word in that dread “valley of the shadow.” I know this personally, because I am facing my 2nd Christmas without my late wife, and although there is grieving, and a dark shadow, there is the Light of His presence, and I can tell you, it really does make a difference, and that because of His Presence; (in my life) I am happy, unafraid in my own “Valley Of The Shadow.”

In fact, Psalms 23:5 is where David is praying to God, and where he says

“YOU honour me as your guest…”

And I feel this honour very keenly because of His Presence here with me today. I actually cannot imagine life without The Shepherd. Even “while I sit in darkness,” He is my Light from heaven. (see Micah 7:8). To feel like I am honoured by God, our Creator is the most amazing Christmas gift ever.

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Only one Person can walk with us through death’s dark valley and bring us safely to the other side—the God of life, our Shepherd. Because life is so uncertain, and sometimes so unbearable, we should follow this Shepherd who offers us eternal comfort, by His presence:

“The Lord IS my Shepherd, I shall not want.” (Psalms 23:1)

This year Christmas is for many a dark and cloudy day and I am thankful for the following promise, which I have seen in my own life:

As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. (Ezekiel 34:12). And there are verses that inform us of God speaking to and helping His people from inside (so to speak) a “thick dark cloud.” Because others have experienced Jesus being present in their “thick clouds, we can know that it is still possible for people to experience His Presence this year for Christmas:

When we were gathered on the mountain, the LORD spoke to us in a loud voice from the dark fiery cloud. The LORD gave us these commands, and only these. Then he wrote them on two flat stones and gave them to me. (Deut 5:22)

Jesus said in Mat 26:31 “for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad” and this He said to signify to us His death on the cross. Yes, Christmas is really about the cross.

God gives peace, and he raised our Lord Jesus Christ from death. Now Jesus is like a Great Shepherd whose blood was used to make God’s eternal agreement with his flock. (Heb 13:20, CEV)

Many do not know the freedom enjoined by having THAT “rod and staff” (God’s presence) to comfort and assure their soul. Many this Christmas have no way of experiencing God’s presence, because all they know is presents, booze, and other things that cannot render the presence of God, and lead us through the “Valley of The Shadow,” where we can be in a state of no fear. Where we can say :I shall not want.”

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How can we have this kind of Christmas, where “I shall not want,” with everything that we have going on today?

Ezekiel declares in Ezekiel 34:12

“As a shepherd cares for his sheep on the day that he is among his scattered flock, so I will care for My sheep; and I will rescue them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day.” 

God promises to take over as Shepherd of his scattered flock today. When our human leaders, or friends or family fail us, we must not despair but remember that God is in control and that he promises to return and care for his flock. This is how we know that we can ALWAYS turn to God for help. He is still in control and can transform any tragic situation into good for his Kingdom.

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present outcome, that many people would be kept alive [as they are this day]. 

we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose. (Gen 50:20, Rom 8:28, AMP)

How can we possibly help another, who is perhaps in their own “Valley of The Shadow” to have this gift, and to testify in concert with The Psalmist:

“I shall not want?”

“Christmas,” or at least what everyone calls “christmas,” is most often a time when everyone “wants.”

How can we change that to “I shall not want,” for someone in need this year?

Perhaps, the answer starts for us today in Psalms 23:5 where it says Jesus HONOURS me (in my own thick clouds, (Exodus 19:9) with His presence. I find this so amazing!

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Are you personally HONOURED with the presence of our Shepherd today? Then you too can honour God this Christmas

“Honour the LORD with me! Celebrate his great name.” (Psalms 34:3)

Anyone today can have this same testimony with God’s presence in the dark clouds of their experience. We could call it “LIGHT IN THE CLOUDS.”

I will always praise the LORD. With all my heart, I will praise the LORD. Let all who are helpless, listen and be glad. Honour the LORD with me! Celebrate his great name. I asked the LORD for help, and he saved me from all my fears. Keep your eyes on the LORD! You will shine like the sun and never blush with shame. I was a nobody, but I prayed, and the LORD saved me from all my troubles. If you honour the LORD, his angel will protect you. Discover for yourself that the LORD is kind. Come to him for protection, and you will be glad. Honor the LORD! You are his special people. No one who honours the LORD will ever be in need. (Psalms 34:1-9)

The determination of David to praise God all the time, no matter how many “thick clouds” are in his experience is very similar to the words of Paul in 1 Thes 5:18

“Whatever happens, keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ. This is what God wants you to do. (1 Thes 5:18)

“Exalt His name together”  is the Psalmist’s call for people everywhere to join him in praising of God.

We need light in the clouds this Christmas! Let your light shine!  (Mat 5:16)

What are your thoughts?

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“If I say, “My foot is slipping,” Your faithful love will support me, LORD. When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy.” — Psalm 94:18-19 Listen to chapter . Powered by
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