O could I sing the matchless worth
O could I sound the praises forth
Which in my Saviour shine,
I’d soar and touch the heavenly strings,
And vie with Gabriel while he sings
In notes almost Divine.
It simply cannot be done with human skill. Yet it has been done by inspired prophets and apostles. Wherein we fail it must be from lack of spiritual vision. One glorious fact remains, that God, never changes. The Divine record stands for all time. So, on each holy day and especially at Christmas time we return to the Word of God. It is marvellous how every fast, feast or sacred day is matched by the Divine event recorded of it. This Christmas day was preceded by the Prophecies, the Annunciation, the Magnificat, the Star of Bethlehem, the journey of the Wise Men of the East, the Angels’ Song heard by the Shepherds and then the Divine birth of the Son of God in human form, born to bring salvation from sin and to redeem Israel. Thus the Christmas is preceded in The Book of Common Prayer by appropriate texts and services leading up to the Christmas Day.
Can we take out of the record the human experiences, the suppressed emotions, the despair and withal the living, though tried and almost weary faith of the surviving God-fearing men and women of Israel, from Isaiah’s day to the birth of Jesus, and make these our own today? If so it may revive our faith to recount that through eight centuries of the decline of religion, centuries which appeared to be an age of banishment from God, when they were “not my people”, and living under oppressive rulers both spiritual and ecclesiastic, yet God nourished such pure souls as The Virgin Mary, Joseph, Zacharias, Elizabeth and the Apostles, whose faith, hope and pure lives testify to the power of God to keep his children through all the vicisitudes of life. Job was able to say “Though He slay me yet will I trust in Him”. And it is true that He “will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” Thus God carried His people through the long centuries of that dispensation until it ended in the Birth of Jesus.
Go back then to the joy of that first Christmas day when the Christ was born. The exaltation of that glorious day filled the emotions of all who believed, so that they broke out into songs of praise. How much more then should we rejoice who have lived to see all the prophesies of the Christ fulfilled almost to the end of His, the Christian, dispensation.
Even if we do not sufficiently observe and celebrate the holy day as we should, yet we do enter into the spirit of it for weeks and months before the day, so that it becomes the Christmas time instead of a day.
Even in wars and economic depressions and spiritual frustrations the joy of this day returns. The spirit of it is there. Is it not true that God has raised up a people for His glory? The spirit of giving and rejoicing has grown until all the people join in it. One is reminded that it was thus that the Master said the Kingdom would grow like the leaven until the whole is leavened.
We praise Our Lord today that He has preserved us as a nation and people so nearly to the end of His – dispensation; that we have seen His word fulfilled, His suffering vindicated and now, His power in the redemption of Israel being demonstrated. In the midst of these most stirring events in the history of Israel and the World. We are able in spirit and in fact to turn back our minds and sing with all our hearts with the shepherds and the Angelic hosts, who have never ceased to sing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, Peace, to men of Good-will”.