'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.
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
“Guess what, God hears you.”
God favors you.
Christmas has come round again, with all its tender associations and reminders; but for the sixth year in succession, Christmas has found the nations locked in a deadly monster-war; and war is the blatant repudiation of all that Christmas represents.
Christmas incarnated love; war expresses hate. Christmas breathes peace; war is murderous strife. Christmas immortalizes humility; war exults callous tyranny. Christmas glorifies gentleness; war unleashes gloating brutality.
There will be many sad homes this Christmas, and comparatively few homes where the family is complete. Perhaps many of us are feeling far from inclined to enter Christmas rejoicings in the usual way. Yet if I may say so, without being thought unsympathetic, we must rejoice, despite everything.
—J. Sidlow Baxter
God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph . . . Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”
Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean.
“Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God!
If you were asked to give one-word testimony to the significance of the Christmas story, what would the word be?
Christmas features a willing Savior born to rescue unwilling people
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.
Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.
For remember, though wars grow worse and worse, though malicious men and fuming fiends work viler and viler wickedness, it is the message of Christmas and the manger of the Christ-child which are to win in the end. Tears of today will be wiped away tomorrow.
We must read the story of Bethlehem in the light of Easter morning. Jesus rose and His resurrection is the divine pre-attestation that He shall yet rule the world as King and Judge. Therefore, whatever our sorrows may be this Christmas, let us enter gratefully into the joys of the sacred celebration.
Let us see this year’s Christmas as one more link in the now almost-completed chain of years between that manger which was, and that royal daybreak which is yet to be.
—J. Sidlow Baxter