The Glory of Christmas

“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.  8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, 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.”–Lukce 2:1-14

The Three Children

There’s a beautiful legend, that’s never been told,
It may have been known to the wise men of old—
How three little children came early at dawn,
With hearts that were sad, to where Jesus was born.

One could not see, one was too lame to play;
While the other, a mute, not a word could he say.
Yet led by His star, they came to peep,
At the little Lord Jesus, with eyes closed in sleep.

But how could the Christ child, so lovely and fair,
Not waken and smile when He heard their glad prayer,
Of hope at His coming, of faith in His birth,
Of praise at His bringing God’s peace to the earth.

And then as the light softly came through the door,
The lad that was lame stood up right once more;
The boy that was mute started sweetly to sing,
While the child that was blind looked with joy on the King! –Charles W.H. Bancroft

Down through the ages the birth of Christ has stirred the minds and imaginations of the poets to enable them to contribute in the celebration of the glory of Christmas. Through their words we relive many familiar moments, such as Mary being turned away by the innkeeper so that she and Joseph were forced to take refuge in a stable.

Said the Innkeeper

“I cannot take these poor;
They do not pay;
They brand the house, they bring disgrace;
I had to send that pair away.

And yet there was a strange look on her face,
This girl who kept her eyes upon the floor,
So strange I stopped a space
Before I sent them from the door.

What could I do?

A man must make a living while he may,
And trade is trade, and money, too,
And sentiment is not, I say.
And yet this girl was strangely fair:

She shivered in the doorway there,
And once she raised her eyes to mine…
I bowed; I would have knelt, I swear.

But at the table some poor lou
Made cry for wine
And broke the spell…
I saw the poorness of the pair
And put them out.

And I did well.

Two merchants took the great room overhead.
It is my principle: I buy and sell
And give my pity to the dead.

And yet this girl, this girl,
I turned her from my door,
But she looked back with kindly eyes
And fairer than before,

And went away
As if she walked with emperors
And was a queen, and all the world was hers!

What could I say?

A man must make his living while he may.” –Myles Connolly

Had the innkeeper been more sensitive, his home might have become a haven for heaven’s greatest gift.  Now that honor would be bestowed upon the manger of Bethlehem in a humble stable.  But do not think that is sad for,

There’s a Song in the Air

“There’s a song in the air!
There’s a star in the sky!
There’s a mother’s deep prayer
And a baby’s low cry;
And the star rains its fire,
while the beautiful sing,For the manger of Bethlehem
cradles a king!

There’s a tumult of joy
O’er the wonderful birth,
For the Virgin’s sweet boy
Is the Lord of the earth.

Ay, the star rains its fire,
and the beautiful sing,
For the manger of Bethlehem
cradles a king!”

Martin Luther looked with eyes of faith into the manger of Bethlehem.  He saw the Christ child and was led to pray.

A Bed in my Heart

“Ah, dearest Jesus, Holy Child,
Make Thee a bed, soft, undefiled,
Within my heart, that it may be
A quiet chamber kept for Thee.

My heart for very joy doth leap,
My lips no more can silence keep.
I too must sing, with joyful tongue,
Glory to God in highest Heaven,
Who unto man His Son hath given,
While angels sing with pious mirth,
A glad New Year to all the earth.”

When the Lord Jesus Christ comes to dwell in the hearts of men, then there will be peace in all the earth and good will to men.  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow believed this and wrote,

“I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And tho’t how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep;
“God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!”

If you would know peace, come to Christ.

Love Him.

Kneel before Him.

Communion with Him.

Christ is waiting for our homage and fellowship, for this, is the glory of Christmas.

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