It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold;
“Peace on the earth, good will to men,
From Heav’n’s all-gracious King.”
The world in solemn stillness lay,
To hear the angels sing.
Throughout the world societies both recognize and observe Christmas Day. The world pauses, perhaps due to tradition, or belief, or obligation. Whatever the reason, the world seems to pause and observe Christmas Day.
The world gives lip service to the CHRIST in Christmas, yet the focus of Christmas, especially in the world of today, is upon things material, not spiritual.
The Christmas season has become a commercialized event, beginning with Thanksgiving Day, finding its culmination with the ushering in of a New Year. Tucked away between these two days, obscured by the lights, the trees, and the carols, lies the birth of the eternal hope of mankind, obscured by the busyness of the world.
This world, for the most part, ignores the reality of miracles. Yet miracles occur every day. One need only visit a hospital to observe the restoration of life to an individual who was deemed beyond hope, the cessation of life deemed only a matter of time.
This giving of life, and that life eternal (another miracle) was the purpose behind the plan of the creator of the world, the birth of a child in a city named Bethlehem thousands of years ago, whose purpose was to save the world from itself. This birth had been foretold and anticipated in ancient writings. The Book of Isaiah described this event in various ways, beginning with, “Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel ( God with us).
Again, Isaiah tells us “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; And the government shall be upon his shoulders and his name will be called, Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” These predictions occurred approximately 750 years before the actual birth of the Child.
As this child grew into an adult, he uttered words that revealed his purpose and life mission. He said in the Gospel of John:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.”
The miracle of this birth is also known as the Incarnation, meaning, God became man. Many are the questions raised by this concept, this miracle. A few are, “How could a virgin give birth?” followed by, “How could God become man?”
The foundation of the Christian belief, and the answers to the questions, rely upon the reality of this miracle. The most important choice we make over the course of our lives is in acceptance or belief, or rejection and non-belief in this miracle. Our choice is either the story is true, or it’s not. A virgin either gave birth to that which was/is divine, and God did become man, or it did not occur. Our eternal destinies hinge upon our, and ours alone, answers to this question.
At this point in time, the world remains in turmoil, such as it was at the first celebration of the birth of the Christ by the angels and shepherds.
Those things we always held to be true have been challenged by alternate concepts of reality. Those things we see and hear are twisted in ways to try and influence us into thinking what we have seen and heard are not to be believed.
Nevertheless, hope remains. This hope is based on one’s belief in this miracle. This hope is based on the life, death, and resurrection of that which was divine, given to the world by a miracle. This hope is a hope that the situations and circumstances, successes or failures, good times or bad this life brings to all can’t take away or diminish. For this hope was sent from above, descended below, and returned above. This hope was delivered to the whole of mankind through the miracle of birth by a young virgin, who wrapped her child in rags, then laid in an animal feeding trough.
Do you believe in miracles?
And therein lies our hope.
Yet with the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long;
Beneath the angel strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The love-song which they bring;
Oh, hush the noise, ye men of strife
And hear the angels sing.
The Rev. Walter Kendricks is the pastor of Morning Star Baptist Church in north Spokane.
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