Daily Update #186

God will fulfil his promises
Today I am struck by the last verses of each of these readings for today.
Zeph 3:18 ‘I will gather those of you who mourn for the festival,
    so that you will no longer suffer reproach.
Psalm 33:22 Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
    even as we hope in you.
Luke 1:45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
At this strange time, we may be feeling that we are not able to enter into what people call, ‘The Spirit of Christmas’. Even more so now, with many of our regular members now in Tier IV.
The prophet Zephaniah relayed a promise from God to those who mourned about not being able to participate in the great holy festivals. At the time of his writing the Jews were suffering from the aftershocks of the reigns of kings like Manasseh, who systematically dismantled the God-given law, which included the call for sacred assemblies (Lev 23:2). I guess many of us are feeling the same, by being prevented from assembling to celebrate that first Advent in church, and with families and friends, in a way we would like.
But stop right there! All three of these verses don’t dwell on the problem, they are encouragements of the hope that God will restore the years that the locusts have devastated. We are promised blessings from God himself; we ‘just’ need to have hope (Ps 33:22) and believe (Lk 1:45).
We have an Almighty advantage over those who mourned for appointed temple assemblies in Zephaniah’s day. We are God’s mobile temples (2 Cor 6:16)! This is a glorious result of a saviour who is Christ the Lord, born in Bethlehem. So, as we reflect on the amazing truth that the creator of the universe chose to stoop down and come to earth as a tiny baby, we can celebrate within our own temple of praise wherever we are this week. Our hope today is that God will restore us, to gather together in worship again soon.
Let us echo Elizabeth’s spontaneous outburst of praise, “blessed are (those) who believed there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken…”,  and reflect on those many promises God has made to us. I pray that the best present to you will be his very ‘presence’ this Christmas.
Our soul waits for the Lord;
    he is our help and our shield.
For our heart is glad in him,
    because we trust in his holy name. (Ps 33:20-21)