At the time of the Lord’s birth, the Jewish world was looking for Him. Little girls dreamed of being the chosen one who would be God’s appointed mother of the Messiah. The prophets, the seers and soothsayers and all were looking for something big to happen – the earth and the heavens were all pointing to a major event.
And then it happened . . . “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). He appeared clothed in flesh, and was found by angels and shepherds wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. Was this a holy night? Was it a night divine? Of a certainty, there could be no other word to describe this night filled with rejoicing in heaven and on earth at the news of the Savior’s birth!
O Holy Night
by Placide Clappeau
O Holy night, the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till He appeared and the soul felt His worth
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder beams a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine! O night when Christ was born!
O night divine! O night, O night divine!
Led by the light of faith serenely beaming
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming
Here came the wise men from the Orient land
The King of kings lay in lowly manger
In all our trials born to be our friend
He knows our need
To our weakness no stranger
Behold your King! before the lowly bend!
Behold your King! before Him bend!
Truly he taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus rise we
Let all within us praise His holy name
Christ is the Lord
Then ever, ever praise we
His pow’r and glory ever more proclaim
His pow’r and glory ever more proclaim
Look at the second verse of this age-old carol originally written as a poem in 1847 and translated from French to English: “The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger, In all our trials born to be our Friend. He knows our need; to our weakness is no stranger. Behold your King, before Him lowly bend.” Here the poet confronts us with the greatest irony of all … the King of Kings was born as an infant in a lowly manger in a stable with animals; He lived a life of poverty, faced scorn, and was crucified with thieves. Nevertheless, we bow before Him because He is the King of Kings.
This old Christmas song, like so many other traditional carols, seems to share the entire Gospel in a few short verses. The author very powerfully summed up the purpose of such a holy night in the third verse saying, “Truly He taught us to love one another; His law is love and His gospel is peace. Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother, And in His name all oppression shall cease.” God taught us to love one another and to love even those who are unlovable, from those held in man’s highest esteem to those forgotten and discarded. Even though we no longer have slavery in this country, we still have prejudice and persecution. A demonstration of God’s love to all of those around us model the humility and servant heart of the One whose law is love and whose gospel is peace.
So, the question we must ask is this … are we models of Christ’s love, humility and servant hearts? Does His love flow through us to everyone with whom we come in contact each and every day? Are we content with whatever circumstances in which we find ourselves? Do we live to give rather than live to receive?
May we all fall on our knees this season, beholding our King, and praising His holy name while seeking to behold Him as we grow to become a model of Christ! What better way to share the Good News of today’s verse . . . “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
Thank You, Lord, for the priceless gift of Your Son, our Lord and my Savior, Jesus Christ! Amen and Amen!
© Jan Ross
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