From: Su Min
Subject: RE: "Christmas Greeting"
Wednesday 11th December 1996.
To all the saints in cyberspace, and all our CyberChurchians:
Contribution from Nancy: ==================
Dear Su Min
I just read your "Christmas Greeting" and wanted to share with you and the CyberChurchians part of a Christmas letter I wrote
The "peace of this season," God's peace, any kind of peace too often seems so elusive, especially at this time of year. This Christmas I felt compelled to write Christmas cards first before completing other holiday preparations. This order of activity has led me to search the Bible for instruction and ponder the often spoken of "peace of the season.' In so doing, I find myself looking ahead to Christmas with a new joy and looking around me with a new sense of God's purpose for me in each day, in each activity, and in each encounter with you and others I meet. Here is some of what I rediscovered:
Peace is a promise that the Lord will bless and protect you, that His face may radiate with joy because of you, that He will show you His favour and give you His peace (Numbers_6:24-26).
Peace is a Presence, for unto us a Child is born the Prince of Peace (Isaiah_9:6).
Peace is a precious gift. Jesus spoke saying," I am leaving you with a gift - peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn't fragile like the peace the world gives. So don't be troubled or afraid." (John_14:27)
Peace is a process, looking to Him as the priority, the most important part of any circumstance, situation and struggle. "For, after all, the important thing for us as Christians is . . .stirring up goodness and peace and joy from the Holy Spirit. If you let Christ be Lord in these affairs, God will be Glad, and so will others. In this way aim for harmony - - and try to build each other up." (Romans_14:17-19)
This Christmas I invite you to join me in preparation for this wonderful season of rebirth and renewal. Read God's promises, invite His presence, receive His precious gifts and rejoice in His love.
May the Lord himself, who is our source of peace, give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with you all. (2 Titus_3:16)
Website library: The back copies of this series of Epistles to the CyberChurch are now available for your reading and edification.
To access it, point your favourite web browser to view this URL: http://www.antioch.com.sg/well/devotional/ (You can cut and paste the address)
Please make a bookmark and visit: look for "Endearing Letters"
Thanks to Barry Wong, Tee Joo Tatt and all the other nice people at Antioch.
Thursday 12th December 1996
Epistle to The CyberChurch
GREETINGSMy dearest beloved family and friends, and subscribers of the Epistle to The CyberChurch. As I was planning this edition of my Epistle for you, meaning to move onwards in the Gospel of St Matthew, I am prompted to look at the Christmas story as told in Luke, and to the wonderful hymn of praise declared by The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus (Luke_1:46-55)
MAGNIFICATThe Magnificat is called so from the first word in the Latin text, as rendered in the KJV, “My soul doth magnify the Lord", or in NIV "My soul praises the Lord" (Luke_1:46)
MAGNIFYThe present day use of the word "magnify" usually refers to the enlargement of view with a microscope or magnifying glass. But the biblical usage liked with the KJV language refers much more to the lifting up of honour and praises.
The Greek word in this phrase that is translated "magnify" is Strong's Concordance #3170, magaluno, "meg-al-oo-no": to make or declare great, increase, extol, magnify, show great. Mary is so touched by the honour of bearing the Christ-child, that she sings a song of glory laud and honour to God.
In the OT, the Hebrew word for "magnify" is listed as Strong's Concordance #1431, gadal, "gaw-dal", to made great or large, as in body, mind, estate, honour, pride: advance, boast, bring up, become, do, give, make greater: grow up, increase, magnify, be much set by, nourish up, pass, promote, proudly spoken.
We have several examples of "magnify” and "magnified" in the Old Testament, e.g. in the psalms...
O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together (Psalms_34:3) Let the Lord be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant. (Psalms_35:27)
Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: let such as love thy salvation say continually, The Lord be magnified (Psalms_40:16)
I will praise the name of God with song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving (Psalms_69:30)
Let all those who seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such as love thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified. (Psalms_70:4)
I will worship towards thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy loving kindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.(Psalms_138:2)
Bible scholars are wont to compare and contrast the Magnificat with the song of Hannah (1 Song_of_Songs_2:1-10). Hannah who had been barren, finally conceived and gave birth to a son called Samuel. Samuel was brought to the temple after he had been weaned, and presented for the service of God. Hanna then sings her song of rejoicing:
Mary, from her innermost being, with all her soul, magnifies God, praises God, blesses God.
"My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my saviour" (Luke_1:46-47,_KJV)
My soul praises the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my saviour (NIV)
Reason 1)We do not know Mary's age when she experienced the Immaculate Conception, but she was probably a teenager. Pledged to be married to Joseph, the Arch-Angel Gabriel appears to her and tells her that she will become pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit and bear a son to be named Jesus, who will reign for ever (Luke_1:26-36)
Mary accepts this role with humility, "I am the Lord's servant, may it be to me as you have said" (Luke_1:38) Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth who says: "Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!" (Luke_1:45). Perhaps this blessing is a confirmation to Mary that what has been promised will take place, and it is this conformation that is reason for the Magnificat.
Reason 2)Mary is moved by the occasion and declares "My soul praises the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my saviour" Even in her magnification of God, Mary recognises from her inner spirit that God is her saviour. Even she, Mother of Jesus, is in need of salvation. She is in receipt of salvation, and she rejoices. Perhaps it is the sense of having God as Saviour that leads her to magnify God.
Reason 3)Mary declares "For he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant" (Luke_1:48a)
She herself gives this reason for magnifying the Lord.
She, a young maiden from a nowhere village, chosen to give birth to the King of kings and Lord of lords.. God continues to use paradox: to give mighty strength to the weak: Not to select a royal household but a young commoner to be the mother of the Prince of Peace.
Reason 4)Mary recognises that she, a humble maiden will be called "Blessed", from now on, by all generations (Luke_1:48b)... Mary accepts this honour and blesses God for this privilege.
Reason 5)Mary magnifies God for "He has done great things for me" (Luke_1:49) God has been her saviour. God has chosen her to be mother of Jesus, God has let all generations call her blessed.
Reason 6)Mary magnifies God for He is holy (Luke_1:49).
Reason 7)Mary magnifies God for He is merciful (Luke_1:50)
Reason 8)Mary magnifies God for He is mighty (Luke_1:51)
Reason 9)Mary magnifies God for scattering the proud, bringing down rulers, uplifting the humble, feeding the hungry, sending the rich away.
Reason 10)Mary magnifies God for sending to Israel a Messiah, fulfilling a promise made to Abraham and his descendants.
YOUR SONG OF PRAISE?Dearly beloved, Mary sang her "Magnificat" as she felt the impact of Jesus in her life.
This Christmas, as the nativity scene is brought to you, with the manger, the ox and ass, the three wisemen, the choir of angels, the shepherds in the field....
what will your response be to God, as you feel the impact of Jesus in your life?
What will your song of praise be, your magnificat?
Do write and let me know...
Have a Blessed Christmas!
Su Min, Sing Yu, Min Yu, En Yu
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