Tuesday, 22 December 2020
Title: Christ Is Born! Let The Earth Rejoice!
By: Pastor Isaac Yim

Psalm 96:11-13 (NLT)

11 Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice!
Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise!
12 Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy!
Let the trees of the forest sing for joy
13 before the Lord, for he is coming!
He is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with justice,
and the nations with his truth.

Nobody had anticipated what 2020 would be like. The Covid-19 pandemic has caught the world by surprise. This tiny virus has disrupted everything that goes on in the world. Travel is affected. Trade and commerce are almost at a standstill. Factories, chain-stores, big and small retail outlets, restaurants, banking and finance are all affected. Tens of thousands of people have lost their jobs. Families are displaced and disrupted. Untold suffering is found everywhere. This will certainly dampen the joyous mood of Christmas. It will be very difficult for people to sing “Joy To The World” and celebrate.

In fact, the background of Jesus’s birth then – “the hopes and fears of all the years” – was not very different from now. Yes, it was in such darkness that Jesus came as the Light of the Word. It was in such helpless and hopeless situation that Jesus came to be the Deliverer. It was in the midst of such darkness and death that He came to bring salvation to all mankind.

Thus, the coming of the Messiah was a grand event. The Psalmist exults the whole earth to break forth in jubilant and triumphant celebration. The world is expecting the Messiah to be a great and mighty king, not one born weak and vulnerable in a cow shed. He was meek and gentle. Psalms 96, 97 and 98 are referred to as “enthronement psalms” by scholars. These Psalms sing praise to Yahweh, as King who is enthroned over the whole earth. These Psalms also talk about the second coming of Jesus Christ, when He will come as the Judge (Psalm. 96:13). In Psalm 96:2, He comes to deliver and bring good news of salvation, but He is coming also as the righteous Judge. God’s salvation, deliverance and judgment are all worthy of praise.

Prayer

As we celebrate Christmas, let us pray for the world we are in.

  1. Prayer for world peace (Psalm 96:7&10; Psalm 97:1&6; Psalm 98:4.): O Lord, we proclaim the birth of Christ; may the people of the world be willing to turn from darkness to the Light of His truth. May Your Holy Spirit come into the hearts of those who are under bondage of fear and despair, and set free those who are bound by an addiction of sinful habits.
  2. Prayer for wisdom and discernment living in our fragile world (Psalm 96:11-12; Psalm 98:7-9a.): Lord help us to follow the steps of good and godly people, and help us to stay on the path of integrity and righteousness.
  3. Prayer for justice and equity in the nations of the world (Psalm 96:13b-c; Psalm 98:9b-c.): Lord, we pray the weak will be protected, the poor and hungry will be fed. We pray that the world will work towards peace that builds on justice, and justice will be guided by love.

May I close with this blessing from Psalm 97:11-12 (NLT) for this Christmas season:
Light shines on the godly,
And joy on those whose hearts are right.
May all who are godly rejoice in the Lord
And praise His holy name!

And may the blessing of God,
Father, Son and Holy spirit,
Be with you during this Christmas Season,
And remain with you throughout the year.

Amen.

(Howard Wallace’s Home Page, Old Testament Lectionary Resources Year A, Year B, Year C.)

星期二, 2020年12月22日
标题:基督已诞生!愿全地欢呼!
作者:严以撒牧师
翻译:陈晓佩姐妹

【诗篇96:11-13】 (和合本)

11 愿天欢喜,愿地快乐!愿海和其中所充满的澎湃!
12 愿田和其中所有的都欢乐!那时,林中的树木都要在耶和华面前欢呼。
13 因为祂来了,祂来要审判全地。祂要按公义审判世界,按祂的信实审判万民。

没有人预料到2020年会是怎样的情况。新冠疫情让世界措手不及了。这细小的病毒扰乱了世界所有的事情。旅行受到影响,贸易和商业几乎停滞不前;工厂、连锁店、大型和小型的零售店、餐馆、银行和金融业都受到影响。成千上万的人失业,家庭流离失所和破裂;到处都有难言的痛苦。这无疑抑制了圣诞节的欢乐心情,人人都觉得很难唱出 “普世欢腾” 来庆祝。

事实上,耶稣诞生其时的背景 – “多年的盼望和恐惧” – 与现在并没有很大分别。是的,耶稣就是在如此的黑暗中降临成为世上的光。在一个这般无助和绝望的情况下,耶稣来到成为拯救者;就是在这样的黑暗并死亡里,祂带来了全人类的救恩。

因此,弥赛亚的到来是一个重大的事件。诗人欢呼全世界皆欣喜欢腾地庆贺。世界期望弥赛亚是一位伟大而强大的君王,而不是出生在马槽里的柔弱并脆弱的王。祂温顺而柔和。诗篇96、97、98被学者称为 “登基的诗篇”。这些诗篇歌颂耶和华登基为全世界的王。这些诗篇也谈到耶稣基督的第二次降临,当祂来作审判者的时候(诗篇96:13)。在诗篇96:2中,祂降临传递并带来救恩的好消息,但祂也是作为公义的审判官到来。上帝的救恩、拯救并审判都配得一切的颂赞。

在我们庆祝圣诞节之际,让我们为我们所处的世界祈祷。
1.为世界和平祷告(诗篇96:7&10;诗篇97:1&6;诗篇98:4):主啊,我们宣扬基督的诞生;愿世上的万民愿意从黑暗转向祂真理的光。愿祢的圣灵进入那些被恐惧和绝望所束缚的人心中,并释放那些被罪恶习惯束缚的人。
2.为我们生活在脆弱世界有智慧和洞察力祈祷(诗篇96:11-12;诗篇98:7-9a):主啊,帮助我们跟随良善并虔诚的人的脚步,帮助我们持守在正直和公义的道路上。
3.为世界各国的正义和公平祈祷(诗篇96:13b-c;诗篇98:9b-c):主啊,我们为软弱得到保护、贫穷和饥饿的得到喂养来祷告。我们祈求世界将努力实现建立在正义基础上的和平,正义将由爱引导。

在这圣诞时节,让我以诗篇97:11-12(和合本)的祝福作为结束:
散布亮光是为义人;预备喜乐是为正直人。
你们义人当靠耶和华欢喜,称谢祂可记念的圣名。

愿上帝的祝福,
圣父、圣子和圣灵,
在这个圣诞佳节与您们同在,
并在新的一年里继续与您们同在。
阿们。

(Howard Wallace’s Home Page, Old Testament Lectionary Resources Year A, Year B, Year C.)