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25 December, 2014

The Birth of Christ -Part 2

The anniversary of the birth of Christ, should be a season of rejoicing, not of carnal feasting; a season for spiritual delight, not to pamper the appetites, like heathens in their idol-temples; a season to exalt the soul by divine meditations, and to console it by the assurance of pardoning grace. Oh! that I may thus rejoice with holy joy, and feel every emotion alive to gratitude and praise. I want to feel my heart full of holy rapture, while I meditate upon the wonders of this day. But I must examine myself whether I be in the faith- whether I have received Christ as offered to me in the gospel. Have I any saving interest in this redemption? Jesus is the Savior of the world. He came to seek and to save that which is lost. I am lost; therefore he came to seek me. But will all be saved? Alas? no! And why? because "not all men have faith."

Here, then, is the all-important question: Do I believe in the Son of God with the heart unto righteousness? If I do believe, through grace, though by nature a child of wrath, I am among the saved in Christ Jesus; 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." Oh! what a declaration of grace is this! Truly this is the gospel of my salvation. "Whoever believes." Here is my warrant to hope. "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief." Give me a stronger and a stronger faith, that it may grow into the assurance of hope.

"Whoever believes." Oh! what a word of consolation. The word "whoever," in its full meaning, as expressed by our divine Redeemer, extends to the utmost bounds of the human family, whether in time or space. All, from Adam to the last man born into the world, would be saved, if believers in Jesus; for the word is, "Whoever." No nation, nor age, is exempted from this blessing, so long as "Whoever believes" is recorded in the word of Truth. No sins, however aggravated, shall prevent the participation of this salvation, if there only is true faith in the heart of the sinner, accompanied, as it ever will be, with sincere repentance, love, and obedience; for Jesus has said, that "Whoever," (let him be what he may; or where he may; or have lived when he may;) "Whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

The same blessed truth was declared by our Lord in his last commission to his Apostles; "Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to Every Creature. He that believes, and is baptized, shall be saved." O what mercy and grace is this! Surely none need now despair, who feel an earnest desire after salvation. Everything connected with the redemption of mankind, bears the impress of the divine goodness. The Son of the Virgin was to be called, "Jesus; for he shall save his people from their sins." A mere man could not do this; therefore he is, "Emmanuel; which being interpreted, is, God with us."

Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the city of David. How mysterious his character. He was the root and offspring of David. David's Son, and David's Lord. These names are full of meaning. David signifies, 'beloved'. Jesus, when baptized by John in the river Jordan, was declared by a voice from heaven, to be the beloved of the Father; "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." And Paul exhorts the Colossians to give thanks unto the Father, who "has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son."

Bethlehem, the birth-place of Christ, is a name of rich import. Bethlehem signifies the 'house of bread'. How suitable is this for him who declared. "I am the bread of life." "I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If any man eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." O! that my soul may be nourished and sustained by this "true bread from heaven." Lord, evermore give me this bread. O dwell in me, and I in you. May I daily feed upon you, by faith, in my heart with thanksgiving.