from her December 1980 newsletter
“The Lord is our Righteousness.
“He shall see the fruit of the travail of His soul and be
satisfied; by His knowledge of Himself [which He possesses
and imparts to others] shall My . . . righteous One, My Servant,
justify and make many righteous – upright and in right standing
with God; for He shall bear their iniquities and their guilt
[with the consequences, says the Lord].”
~Isaiah 53:11 Amplified
December 22, 1980
To: Dear Ones scattered over this wonderful planet Earth
From: Leanne Payne
Greetings in Jesus’ Name, and Season’s greetings as well: Joyeux Noël, Feliz Navidad, Fröh Weihnachsten, Wesłych Świat Bozego Narodzenia and Alleluia: How wonderful it would be to really know these and other great languages. Living in Milwaukee where so many of the old country customs and languages are not only preserved but very much alive makes one all the more wish to be able to communicate in the different tongues. What a sound will go up when all the nations gather to praise and worship God! (Rev. 15:4)
I just glanced down the radio fare for one Sunday here, and Serbian, German, Croatian, Italian, Greek, Slovenian, and Polish programs were featured. The other night I was privileged to attend a festive and joyful dinner in a Polish home. The family had made the Christmas decorations, and the table linens were the exquisite work of Polish fingers. It was the home of my friends, Dr. and Mrs. Bernie Klamecki. Bernie, a Milwaukee surgeon active in the healing ministry, is also Roman Catholic and as such presides over a family where Polish national and religious customs are observed. Later, when I was thanking him for the experience of his “world,” he told me (with quiet excitement in his voice) of another custom he and his family observe, and that on Christmas Eve. They go to church ready to give thanks for all the good things God has blessed them with throughout the year. That is a custom I plan to adopt – permanently. How exciting and wonderful to do that! And what a great preparation for the New Year’s Eve Eucharist. At this service it has long been my custom to go to church prepared to offer up as special intentions new goals for the new year. These have come as a result of waiting quietly before the Lord, and listening to Him – pen and prayer journal in hand. These sheets in my prayer journal never seem to grow old, for God keeps on answering and honoring these petitions. Like the bread and the fishes, God multiplies and blesses to us all that we ask in His Name! Glory be! What a privilege, what a heritage we have as children of God. “Oh for a Thousand Tongues to Sing” – in praise of His Name, in thanksgiving to Him. My list of blessings to give thanks for will be so long that it will take from now until Christmas Eve just to prepare it.
God the Father, speaking through His prophet Isaiah, foretells the coming of His Son into the world, and that He would “reveal truth to the nations.”
I have given You for a covenant to the people,
for a light to the nations
to open the eyes of the blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon
and those who sit in darkness from the prison. (Isa. 42:6b, 7)
Unlike Isaiah, we live on “this side” of Christmas – of our Lord’s first advent. And we who are Christians know that He came, and that “in Him was Life and the Life was the Light of men.” We know this because He who is our Light and our Righteousness indwells us, and that the truth He came to give to the nations lives as a permanent shaft of light within our very souls.
The second advent of our Lord is the great Christian hope. He is coming for those who love Him, and “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” But this coming is pictured as a terrible day for the many who have despised the Light (Joel 2:1-13; Isa. 13:9-11; Rev. 19:11-21). The Scriptures give a terrible description of what it means to be finally separated from all that is good, all that is Light.
I had a dream recently that brought this absence of Light – the awfulness of it – home to me. I was sitting, looking out upon a black, black sea and horizon. There was no light, not even a star in the black sky or a candle upon the earth. Then I saw a great light rise (like a sun) over the horizon. It was a great ship cautiously coming into port, and its huge beam was the only light. It was almost to shore when it was suddenly blown to smithereens. There was a great fire and explosion – then no light. As I prayed about this dream, the thing that was borne in on me was that there was no transcendent light, not even from moon or stars, and that the only light was man-made. And God began to speak to me through the prophet Habakkuk. In verse 1:7, “[The Chaldeans] are terrible and dreadful; their justice and dignity proceed only from themselves.” One has only to think of the Nazis, the Kremlin, and our own newspaper headlines to know what a dreadful scourge the Chaldeans would bring on the unprepared or defenseless nation. In verse 11, “They (the Chaldeans) load themselves with guilt, (as do all men) whose own power is their god.” This is in contrast to the marvelous image of God approaching from Sinai, His glory filling the heavens, the earth full of His praise: “And His brightness was like the sunlight; rays streamed from His hand; and there (in the sun-like splendor) was the hiding place of His power” (Hab. 3:3, 4). God has continued to speak to me through this night vision – about the growing darkness in the world and especially in the minds of men, about what happens when the “light” of man’s wisdom is separate from and even replaces the light of God’s presence and truth in congregations of God’s people. There again we must in the power of the Holy Spirit be channels of the true Light, and remind them of what faith in the Son of God really claims:
“Think what faith in Jesus Christ claims – that He can present us faultless before the throne of God, unutterably pure, absolutely rectified and profoundly justified. Stand in implicit adoring faith in Him. He is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption'” (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, Nov. 13). All of this inherent in the gift of the Christ Child, the gift of Christmas.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Image: 1864 Aivazovsky Meer anagoria” by Ivan Aivazovsky – anagoria. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1864_Aivazovsky_Meer_anagoria.JPG #/media/File:1864_Aivazovsky_Meer_anagoria.JPG
Reprinted with permission, copyright ©1999-2013 by Pastoral Care Ministries, Inc.