__The Christmas and Chanukah season is truly a wonderful time of the year for believers. Chanukah celebrates a great miracle in Israel (178 BC) when God overthrew, with a small band of Jewish believers, a concerted effort by the Greek civilization to extinguish the light of Biblical faith in Israel. The Temple was rededicated and the Menorah relit.
Christmas is a time when we celebrate the coming of Jesus as The Light Of The World, to be its Savior and Redeemer for all time. We know the month of December was not the exact time of His birth, but it was during Chanukah on the 25th day of Chislev – the Hebrew month that corresponds most closely to December - that He declared Himself to be the Light of the World. It was also at this time that He declared: “He who follows me, will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (John 8.12)
The message of Christmas is that God, Himself, stepped into this world in human form to make a way for everyone to come back to His love, care, grace and ways. Christmas is not just for Christians - it is a celebration of JOY that belongs to the whole world. Because Jesus came to be a light to all nations, everyone has a right to celebrate and discover the benefits and the JOY of what He has done for all.
“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the payment for our sins, and not only for our sins, but also for the whole world.” (1 Jn 4.10, 2.2)
God has promised that times like these, when the darkness of grief, despair and discouragement “cover the earth” His light will shine more brightly, His glory shall come on His people and nations will come to Him!. It is especially in times of suffering that His light is discovered by those who come to it - not just from the Christian and Jewish world - but from every nation.
“Arise shine for your light has come, for (when) darkness shall cover the earth,
the Lord will arise over you,
and His glory will be seen upon you.
The nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. (Isa. 60.2-3)
The Christmas celebration of the coming and the work our Redeemer, Jesus, has never been so relevant. He is a specialist in turning mourning into dancing, sorrow into joy, despair into hope and with Him “the valley of trouble becomes a door of hope.” (Hosea 2.15) Jesus tells us to be joyful in time of trouble as this releases His overcoming redemptive power. “In the world you will have tribulation but BE OF GOOD CHEER because I have overcome the world.”
We expect that after this year of dreadful restriction - the light of His love, truth and grace will go out with even greater power and vitality to the nations in 2021! Be ready and expect great things!
***Paul & Nuala's News
In spite of the restrictions this year which forced us to cancel all plans to travel overseas, including two ministry trips to Ireland, U.K., Spain and a tour to Israel, we have had a year of fruitfulness in different ways.
The Lord has drawn many of us into deeper discoveries of His life and Kingdom. He has refined our message and revealed Himself in new ways. Though there is no substitute for face to face communication and fellowship, we have learned to communicate more effectively through Zoom, podcasts, blogs, radio etc. We have been encouraged by the responses we have received from many. The word of God has not been bound and neither have we – restricted yes – but not bound!
We pray that together we will continue to explore the height and depth of His love, and discover more fully what it is to blessed with every spiritual blessing in and with Him. May the next year be a year of release and abundant blessing for each one of us.
Thank you again to all of you who help us in various ways, and especially to those who help us with prayers, financial support and encouragement.
With love and great appreciation,.
Paul & Nuala
In September we were also in Israel with our tour. The times are changing in Israel, as you all know, and there is no doubt God is working in everything to advance the Day of the Lord’s rule upon the earth.
We spoke to one man in a small grocery store. When we said that the political situation in Israel is quite messy , he burst out and said. “That’s the truth! The only one who can help us is the Messiah, and he can’t come soon enough!” They know that the present flow of history is inexorably moving towards His return.
This is no myth. As Peter said,” We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made know to you the power and coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Pt. 1.16) His coming to Bethlehem and His soon coming to Jerusalem are not myths but solid realities that can govern our lives.