A big day
"We are foreigners and strangers in your sight, as were all our ancestors" 1 Chronicles 15.29
Yesterday we turned a corner - into the season of O-Antiphons. The O-Antiphons are a series of epithets (attributes) which Christians ascribe to Jesus between 17 and 23 December, immortalised in the Advent hymn 'O come, O come, Emmanuel', which we sang last night at a Gaelic Carol service according to the translation made by Duncan Sneddon, Gaelic Development Officer for the Church of Scotland. Yesterday's epithet was Wisdom, today's is Might. Jesus is worthy of might because he is wise.
According to Revelation chapter 20, after their defeat Satan will imprisoned and the beast and the false prophet (anti-Christ) will be thrown into the lake of eternal fire, while those who believe in Jesus will be raised (the first resurrection) and will reign with him on earth for a thousand years (ie a very long time!). And then the second resurrection and final judgment, after which Satan and all who reject God will join the beast and the false prophet in the lake of eternal fire (the second death, which believers do not have to fear) and those who put their trust in Christ will inherit, with him, the new heaven and earth as promised by the Father and delivered through the Spirit.
Today is also International Migrants Day. As we intercede for the 272 million migrants in the world today, let us bear in mind that our Lord entered this world, his creation, as a migrant. Mary and Joseph had to leave Nazareth and travel to Joseph's ancestral home in Bethlehem to be registered for a census. Then they had to flee for their lives to Egypt, when Herod heard that their child was to become his rival. And during his adult life Jesus described himself as one who had "nowhere to lay his head." But maybe the most formidable journey, for Mary and Jospeh anyway, was the journey they had to travel in their faith. Becoming parents out of wedlock posed significant social and economic problems for both of them, compounded by becoming fugitives.
For us, too, deciding to trust God completely will be the biggest decision we shall ever make. It will also be the most far-reaching.