I want to take this last opportunity of the 2019 Holiday season to wish you a most wonderful and blessed New Year! In spite of the difficulties of this past year, I am looking forward to 2020 and to all that God will do. May your heart also be expectant as together we make each day count for the Kingdom!
This year’s holiday season was special in that Chanukah (Feast of Dedication) and Christmas were celebrated during the same week! As we lit the Chanukah candles, we proclaimed Yeshua, the light of the world and remembered the miracle of God in saving Israel during the time of the Maccabees. And we acknowledged the greatest miracle of all: the birth of the Messiah who brought salvation to the earth.
Although there is not much celebration of Christmas in Israel, it is a growing curiosity to most people. Israelis want to “see” Christmas. For the most part, Christmas is associated with trees and Santa Claus and very few people really understand the real meaning of this day. So it is wonderful that every year, multitudes go to the Old City in Jerusalem to try and catch a glimpse of Christmas – by looking at the lights at various places or stopping by Christ Church where they hear traditional worship music being sung and played and feel the inspiration and the sheer awe of the season.
Bibles are left on the table and it is reported that many hundreds are taken. There is no doubt that many seeds are planted on this night and I believe that God faithfully waters to bring about his harvest. May the Gospel take root among his people, this year more than any other!
Other than that, Christmas is a normal work day and one can easily forget all that is going on in celebration throughout the world. Unfortunately, some of the festivities of Chanukah were missed here as we had a week of really wintry weather with lots of heavy rain and cold temperatures. The good news is that the Sea of Galilee went up 24cm just from the abundant rain these last few days.
We have also have been experiencing an extreme ‘flu epidemic which officials are calling a “plague” as such a large percentage of the population is sick, even with a number of fatalities.
We had so many of our congregation out that we had to cancel our planned festive Chanukah party and transfer it to the home of Jonathan and Simcha. Although much smaller and more informal, we had a blessed, sweet time and enjoyed lots of good food, sufangiots and wonderful fellowship.
Please pray for those with pneumonia and the ‘flu that there will be quick recuperation as the sun comes out this week!
Once again I am hosting our Third Season Gathering at my house this Friday evening. It is always such a great blessing to come together and to welcome the Shabbat, pray, worship the Lord together and of course share a wonderful meal. Please pray for good attendance, and an atmosphere of joy and love as we bless one another, especially for the New Year.
Just a couple of days ago, we woke up to the news of another horrific anti-Semitic stabbing attack in Monsie, NY. Sadly, in this holiday season of good will and peace, the reality is far from that. These type of attacks against Jews are increasing world wide. It seems that every day an anti-Semitic attack is reported in the news. In NYC alone, there were at least 9 suspected attacks in recent days and that not including the lethal shooting attack at a Jewish Market in Jersey City a short while ago. In France, over 100 graves were desecrated and there have been, at least, 42 anti-Semitic attacks reported over the last 18 months. Just last week, a young man was attacked in the Paris metro as he was overheard speaking Hebrew. And this is just a few of the many such attacks throughout the world. It is becoming dangerous to look Jewish and to be heard speaking Hebrew.
President Rivlin responded to this latest attack by encouraging Jews world wide to return home – to come to Israel. It is the safest place to be! We agree with the President and this is part of prophecy being fullfilled before our eyes. Please pray for Jews to consider returning to their ancestral homeland and choose to make aliyah in the days to come. These increasing attacks are a warning. The days are growing darker! May we be wise in these times.
Please pray for me to have wisdom as I think about a trip to the States in February. This would be the first time for me traveling alone and it requires a significant amount of overcoming! I know I can do all things in Him who strengthens me. Pray that I can plan the itinerary and only go and do according to the good plan of the Lord.
Finally, as we move forward into 2020, let us keep our eyes on Yeshua, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross and endured such opposition. Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us and let us not grow weary in well doing.
God is good and his plans and purposes for us are good! May 2020 be an incredible year of advance in our lives personally and for the Kingdom of God.
With love from Zion,