Can you believe it? Its still Christmas and a reading about inhuman violence. Yet understanding Herod’s reaction to the birth of Jesus will teach us much about the hope we have in Jesus and how to live for Jesus as we live in the real world.
But in the business of the season and in the quietness of this night do need to stop and ask “Can you believe it?” Can we really believe the story of Christmas? Tales of a virgin birth, wandering stars and nocturnal angelic choirs can seem like a fairy tale, the history seems a bit dodgy and wasn’t December 25th originally a pagan festival. It seems to fall short of the truth and so a tall order to believe. It seems unreal in a world where our problems can seem all too real.
Well perhaps surprisingly this Christmas I want you to believe less, but to believe in one thing that is far bigger, as we ask Can you believe it? Do you believe it?
1 The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus 2 it shall blossom abundantly,
and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
the majesty of our God.
3 Strengthen the weak hands,
and make firm the feeble knees. 4 Say to those who are of a fearful heart,
“Be strong, do not fear!
Here is your God.
He will come with vengeance,
with terrible recompense.
He will come and save you.”
5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped; 6 then the lame shall leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert; 7 the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;
the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp,
the grass shall become reeds and rushes.
8 A highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Holy Way;
the unclean shall not travel on it,
but it shall be for God’s people;
no traveller, not even fools, shall go astray. 9 No lion shall be there,
nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;
they shall not be found there,
but the redeemed shall walk there. 10 And the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain joy and gladness,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.