Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Thoughts

Did Mary say to Joseph tenderly,
“Such little hands, such little feet! They be

Like little shells we’ve found beside the sea,

The sea of Galilee”?

And did wise Joseph answer, “For love’s sake
Our love shall shelter Him, enclose, andhold,
As the low hills about that silver lake
Shelter it, fold on fold”?

Across the stable, like a wind – a breath –
“The wicked have enclosed me,” it saith
“Thou hast brought Me into the dust of death.”
Into the dust of death.

And then did Joseph’s father-like surprise
As round his finger little fingers curled
Call smiles and tears to Mary’s mother-eyes?
He clings who’ll save the world.

And as the Child in His soft manger lay,
Did gentle oxen in their language say,
“A mangerful of our sweet-smelling hay –
Our gift this Christmas Day”?

Again that breath – an unregarded tree
Is growing somewhere, making wood to be,

One awful day, the Cross of Calvary.

The cross of

O Lord, we adore Thee!
The wicked did enclose thee;
Pierced were Thy hands and feet for us – for me
O Child of Bethlehem,
Christ our Redeemer,
We come and we adore Thee,
We come and we adore Thee,
We come and we adore Thee,
Christ our Lord!
(Amy Carmichael...quoted in Whispers of His Power)

I’ve just been somewhat overwhelmed by thoughts of all of the next steps…the follow through…continuance of the Lord. There are a great many things that have been foretold, that have been “prophesied” and promised that have never come to fruition. The best laid plans of mice and men have a way of falling short or remaining in the planning stages all together. But not so with the Lord. He promised a Savior, indeed it can be argued that He designed all of creation to foretell, prepare the way for and to see this plan to completion. The birth of the Savior was foretold…and it played out exactly as it was meant to. The child grew into a man and died. And, one could argue the story really begins there. For had His death been merely death, He would have been but one of a few remarkable men…men of whom people had great hopes, but mortality cut those hopes short. But His death was a step into life everlasting…a return to it for Him and the opening of a doorway for us. The story could have stopped with His birth…the prophesies turning out to be nothing more than fairytales. It could have stopped with His death…the promises turning out to be nothing more than the lofty ideals of either an intensely religious man or a deluded one. But the story goes on to this day. The Lord continues to follow through, to go the next step, to write the story…on the hearts of those who will believe. He continues to go beyond all reason and with great sacrifice - as if offering His Son were not enough – He pursues us though we daily offend His holiness. And, He promises to continue until the end of time…for the joy set before Him…so our joy in Him may be complete…though we seek joy elsewhere…anywhere else sometimes.

Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! . . . Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!—For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

He . . . did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all.—“He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him.”

Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of men!—Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!

“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” (from Daily Light 12/25)

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