I do pray that you have/had a Merry Christmas. A Christmas that was marked with love and kindness extended to you and to those you encountered during your day. A Christmas that, at least in some small measure, focused on the Christ Child who entered this world as a Baby so that He could save us from our sins.
Every year we decorate the tree with various ornaments and lights, complete with gaudy garland and the toilet paper Santa that the children made when they were in nursery school. (The Santa has lost one of his legs through the 40 years it has survived, but all in all, he sits on one of the tree branches and smiles at the adult children who made him so long ago.) Then too there is the construction paper star and the clothes pin angel that the children made in Sunday School. The star has had to be laminated but the angel is still free to clip onto the branch high on the tree. (Each year it is a sibling fight to see whose ornament is the highest on the tree! This year I believe the star won the honor.)
But, high on the tree, there is a cross made of hay.
It is a somber ornament – one that does not speak of the manger or the cattle, of Mary or Joseph, of the angels singing or the shepherds marveling. It is a symbol of the crucifixion that would take place 33 years later.
But, it is a solemn reminder that Christmas is not the “end game” for the Christ Child. Rather, His becoming the Babe in the manger was a necessary occurrence so that He could live and become the Savior and Redeemer for His children.
The Christmas carol “Silent Night, Holy Night“ was composed in 1818 by Franz Xaver Gruber to words written by Joseph Mohr in the village of Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria.
The third stanza of the carol sums up this aspect of our Lord’s birth:
Silent night, holy night, Son of God, love’s pure light; Radiant beams from thy holy face, With the dawn of redeeming grace, Jesus, Lord at thy birth, Jesus, Lord at thy birth.
Paul says it another way in Galatians 4:4-5:
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
Celebrate Christmas with the realization that without the Babe in the manger, we would not have the Christ on the cross, and we would be left in our sins and trespasses, the burden of our iniquity too much for us to bear.
Praise the Lord for His coming as a child – Praise Him too for being our Savior and Lord.
Merry Christmas to you all from all of us at The Ruminant Scribe.
I love the cold weather, and I thoroughly enjoy some snow. Not enough to cause horrible accidents, power outages or massive difficulties, but snow on the trees and bushes and lightly covering the ground. I love the calming effect and profound silence that falling snow brings.
One Christmas carol that is calming even in the midst of a season of tumultuous activity is Silent Night, Holy Night. This calming effect is due, at least in part, to its sound theology. Let us look at the words of this carol and consider the Scripture that relates to each stanza.
Silent night, holy night; All is calm, all is bright.  Round yon virgin, mother and child,Holy infant, so tender and mild,  Sleep in heavenly peace, Sleep in heavenly peace.
 The prophet Isaiah foretold in Isaiah 7:14:
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
This prophecy was quoted in Matthew 1:23 with a small addition, the meaning of the term “Immanuel”:
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to her son, Jesus. Indeed, she confirmed that this prophesy was being fulfilled when she said, in Luke 1:34:
“And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?””
 Then there is the phrase “Sleep in heavenly peace”.
Jesus is, truly, the source of peace. When His disciples were afraid, He said:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
The peace Jesus provides is overwhelming, and is heavenly peace!
Silent night, holy night,  Shepherds quake at the sight; Glories stream from heaven afar,  Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!  Christ the Savior is born, Christ the Savior is born.
 The word “quake” is not found in the description of the shepherds on that hillside. However, Scripture does support the concept in Luke 2:9 where we read:
“And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.”
I have to say, if I saw an angel of the Lord, with the glory streaming from the angel surrounding me, I believe that I would be filled with fear and would likely “quake” too!
 Luke 2:13-14 tells that there was great singing by the heavenly host:
“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!””
I can’t write these words without smiling and hearing in my soul the choir singing these words during Christmas anthems. Another way to say “Glory to God” is by use of the word “Alleluia” or Hallelujah meaning “God be praised”.
 “Christ the Savior is born”. The angel told Joseph that Jesus was going to be the Savior of men when he announced to him that his betrothed was with a heavenly child.
“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
The angels also announced this to the shepherds on that hillside so long ago:
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Silent night, holy night, (1) Son of God, love’s pure light; (2) Radiant beams from thy holy face With the dawn of redeeming grace, (3) Jesus, Lord, at thy birth, Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.
 The babe in the manger was truly the Son of God and “love’s pure light”. Jesus said:
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world..””
I doubt that the Babe in the manger had a halo around His head as depicted in religious art. But radiance does assuredly apply to our Lord. Consider the description of Jesus when He was transfigured before three of his disciples. Matthew describes it as follows:
“And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light.”
 Redeeming grace was truly brought to earth when Jesus was born. Paul sums this up in Galatians 4:4-5 where he says:
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”
 The carol concludes with the statement “Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.” This is, too, an accurate statement and it is an affirmation of faith and belief in that wonderful Babe. Again Paul writes:
“Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Philippians 2:9-11. Jesus is Lord of all, and He was Lord even as the Babe. He gave up His heavenly place so He could save us from our sins; but He was no less Lord when He was a man than when He was in heaven. The God/Man Jesus Christ is and always has been part of the Triune God, from the time before time began and He will remain such when time no longer exists and we are in heaven for eternity. Jesus is Lord. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!
May the blanketing silence of snow cover you, whether literally or figuratively, so that you experience the peace that our Savior brings to your heart and soul even in the hectic days of the Christmas season.
Perhaps listening to Silent Night, Holy Night as sung by Nashville Liberty Acappella on their album Christmas Acappella will get you into the stillness mode.
Do whatever it takes to calm yourself this Christmas. You will be glad you did and your relationship with your Father will grow stronger even in the hectic Christmas season.
Father, thank You for Your Word that tells of the birth of Jesus even hundreds of years before it occurred. Thank You for Your Word that speaks to us today, thousands of years after Jesus was born, telling us of His birth, death, resurrection, ascension and promised return. Help me to keep my eyes on You and Your gift to us, the Babe in the manger who became our Sacrifice on the Cross and is now our Savior in Heaven. Give me the grace to “Be still”, even when chaos reigns around me, through the power and love of Your Son, Jesus Christ, my Savior.