Merry Christmas, 66books and readers!!
2 Chronicles 30 struck me with its extravagant, kind grace. I think how often I am undone, even unmannerly, or inappropriate- and yet, the kindness of God is toward me. Verses 18 – 22 speak of the Lord’s grace and pardon toward a people whose heart is toward Him. He lovingly pardons them; they therefore are full of great gladness, joy, thanks, and peace. The gospel is extravagant grace, and I learn of the Father’s heart in these verses- and I am grateful. I don’t deserve it, and I can never deserve it. But the Lord hears Jesus, who intercedes for me, and He heals me, forgives me, cleanses me, and makes me His. The quiet of Christmas calls my heart to contemplation and the blessed advent of the Lord Jesus. I want to walk in lavish grace and extend lavish grace to others because that is my true reality in Christ. This little section of 2 Chronicles 30 is an oasis in the midst of the chapter, and I find my own reflection there.
2 Chronicles 30
18 For a majority of the people, many of them from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet they ate the Passover otherwise than as prescribed. For Hezekiah had prayed for them, saying, “May the good Lord pardon everyone 19 who sets his heart to seek God, the Lord, the God of his fathers, even though not according to the sanctuary’s rules of cleanness.”[a]20 And the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people. 21 And the people of Israel who were present at Jerusalem kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with great gladness, and the Levites and the priests praised the Lord day by day, singing with all their might[b] to the Lord. 22 And Hezekiah spoke encouragingly to all the Levites who showed good skill in the service of the Lord. So they ate the food of the festival for seven days, sacrificing peace offerings and giving thanks to the Lord, the God of their fathers.
“I am the rtrue vine, and my Father is sthe vinedresser. 2 tEvery branch in me that does not bear fruit uhe takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, vthat it may bear more fruit. 3 Already wyou are clean xbecause of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 yAbide zin me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; ayou are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bbears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6
Jesus is calling me to abide. I studied abide a little to try to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to abide in Jesus. I know these verses speak of Jesus as the Source for believers as the Vine is the source for the branches. I need to stay connected to, and in active life flow with Jesus. For me, I have to ponder this more fully. Pruning hurts; I don’t like it and I often don’t understand it. I would love to walk more closely with the Lord that I might more fully understand His pruning as well as the fruit that comes from union with Him.
11 These things I have spoken to you, nthat my joy may be in you, and that oyour joy may be full.
12 p“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 qGreater love has no one than this, rthat someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are smy friends tif you do what I command you.
Over many years, and in many different ways I have pondered laying down my life “for my friends.” Friends as noted here can be so many different categories of people in a life. I think, first, in 2021- I want to pursue friendship with Jesus because I know that everything else flows from that. Second, as always, I am held captive by the realization of God’s love. He commands me to love “one another” as He has loved me. I ponder what that means in my real, work-a-day life. Mostly, I want a mind and a life fixed on the Lord, and I want to love through prayer and action faithfully.
It is the end of 2020; it is hard to believe the this year is coming to a close. Year’s end always draws me to quiet contemplation. What will I find in the Lord in 2021? I am full of hope; He is for me.
Jesus, how delightful to praise You through the beautiful celebration of Christmas. May the advent of Your love on earth feel real and full to all who read here, and, O Lord, especially to me- my heart which needs You so. I thank You for Your extravagant love and kindness and how You overlook so much in me through Christ. Thank You, O Lord. With praise to Your Name! Amen.