earthChristmas is now over and with the New Year it is time to look back and also to look forward. Looking back we might ask, what sort of a world has man forged for himself? Does Religion still play a part in our lives? What about the Festive Season which has just passed, was it a time of peace and goodwill? Apparently not for some.

Here are some of the headlines for Christmas week:

Syria says twin suicide bombings in Damascus kill 44 

BBConline. December 23. 2011 

Iraq heads towards inevitable sectarian conflict

Daily Telegraph. December23. 2011

Russia test-fires two new nuclear missiles

Reuters, December 23. 2011

Iran ‘s navy to hold drill in international waters

Associated Press. December 22. 2011

Syria conducts war games to deter attack 

Syrian state television broadcast during Christmas week, what it claims was footage of the nation’s air force and navy holding live-fire exercises aimed at deterring any attack on the country.

What a world! Where is the so called ‘Christmas Spirit’? Jesus, whose birth this Festival purports to celebrate, told his disciples that, at the time of the end, the world would be in turmoil and it would appear that His words are coming true. In Luke 21:25 he said: 

25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring 26 Men's hearts failing them for fear and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.

In Bible shorthand we see the Sun as the Political powers and the Moon as the Ecclesiastical- with the Seas as the bulk of mankind, and surely we see this happening now with the rise of ‘people power’ and ‘sit in’ demonstrations against which neither Governments nor the Church have any power. We have almost bankrupt Nations with their subjects still hoping that they won’t have to pay for their debts. The whole fabric of Society seems to be shredding before our eyes and yet such worrying events ought to be a consolation for the faithful because they herald the return of Christ....for Jesus continued....

Luke 21:27  ‘And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

Syria is an example of the rise of ‘people power’ and her fate seems in the balance at present. There is mounting rebellion answered by bloody reprisals which have made their leaders seriously prepare for defence also against outside forces. They are afraid that the increasing turmoil in Syria could end in outright war with other nations stepping in to ‘create peace’! It seems possible that this will involve Israel and bring to an end the city of Damascus. These events we are witnessing now could be leading up to the cataclysmic end of the nation of Syria as we know it, which is prophesied in Isaiah 17:3.

3 The fortress also shall cease from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria: they shall be as the glory of the children of Israel, saith the LORD of hosts. 4 And in that day it shall come to pass, that the glory of Jacob shall be made thin, and the fatness of his flesh shall wax lean.

From this prophecy it appears that the destruction or laying low of Syria would come before the invasion (described in Ezekiel 38) by Gog ( Russia, Iran and others) on an Israel weakened by this conflict.  However this pans out, we are certainly living in tumultuous times and it cannot be long before the Lord Jesus Christ returns!

And this will be the start of a wonderful time for those who have been faithful, obedient servants of Christ. For it will be the start of a new world in which they will have a part. Following on with Jesus’ words on this subject, he ends on a truly hopeful note.

Luke 21:27  And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28  And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

Finally, the true Spirit of Christmas is not lost. It can’t be found in expensive presents, only in the most precious gift God could give - His son to die for us. The Angel told Joseph in Matthew 1:20

20 Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

And the promise given to Mary by the angel Gabriel carries a most important addition to this prophecy

30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

Our Saviour is to reign over the whole world in an everlasting Kingdom and he is coming back soon for this purpose. When he returns to claim his Kingdom, then there will indeed be peace on earth and goodwill to all the men and women who have waited longingly for his return, just as the Angels promised. Luke 2:

10 And the angel said unto them (the shepherds), Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

The Signs of the Times show clearly that Jesus’ return is very near- will you be ready?