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23 December, 2014

The Birth of Christ

"I bring you good news of great joy for everyone! The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David!" Luke 2:10-11

What angelic mind can descend into the depth, or soar to the height of redeeming love! "Great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifest in the flesh." "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself." "Jesus Christ was of the seed of David;" and yet, "is over all, God blessed forever."

The two-fold nature of Christ was declared by himself on many occasions. To Nicodemus he said, "No man has ascended up to heaven, but he who came down from heaven, even the Son of man who is in heaven." As Man, he was on earth; as God, he filled the heavens with his presence. Proud reason staggers at this truth, but faith rejoices and triumphs. Salvation is of the Lord.

O for this love, let rocks and hills,
Their lasting silence break;
And all harmonious human tongues,
The Savior's praises speak.

As Jesus was born in the flesh, so must I be born in the Spirit. He became the Son of man, that I might become a child of God. He died, that I might live. He ever lives to make intercession for me, that where he is, there I may be also.

And did He indeed shed his precious blood for me? Was it for one so vile and wretched, that he became incarnate, endured a life of suffering, and a death of pain? And shall I not love him with all my powers? Why is my heart like adamant for hardness, and ice for coldness? Oh! what ingratitude, worse than satanic baseness! Come, O Sun of Righteousness, dispel the clouds of unbelief which obscure your brightness; drive away the mists of error; melt my frozen heart; subdue my stubborn will. Come with all your vivifying rays of mercy, grace, and love; and make me humble, loving, teachable, and mild, an image of Yourself.

When the Savior of the world was born, angels filled the canopy of heaven with joyful hallelujahs. They sang, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." Did angels rejoice at man's salvation, and shall man, for whom this salvation was wrought, be silent and unmoved? Alas! the loving Savior came unto his own, and his own received him not." Do I condemn the Jews? "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her," said Jesus to the accusing Pharisees. I should sit in judgment on myself.

Blessed Redeemer! your word proclaims pardon and peace to a ruined world; your ministers preach salvation, through your atoning blood, to all who repent and believe; your Spirit strives with sinners by powerful convictions; and still they withstand these workings of your love. And had not your grace been as omnipotent, as it is sovereign, I would even now have been in arms against you. But Oh! the mighty, the almighty power of Love; you did graciously draw me to Yourself, and shed abroad in my heart the kindly influences of your Spirit. Jesus, O Friend of sinners, O Physician of souls, how can I sufficiently adore and praise you. As you had compassion on the leper, the paralytic, the deaf, the dumb, the maimed, and the blind, so have you had pity on me. Yes, as you did raise Lazarus from the dead, so have you bid me live. Oh! that I may live to your glory while on earth; and live with you in glory, when time shall be no more.