20-7 Little Town of Bethlehem

listen not
Listen to Little Town of Bethlehem

We hear the Christmas angels
the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us,
our Lord Immanuel!

Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. (Lk. 1:30-31)

The angel Gabriel, “God is my strength,” visits mankind (Daniel, Zacharias, and Mary) with a message from God. A message delivered with glad tidings, a message of prayers answered, insights given, and hopes fulfilled. A message not only for the recipient but for all mankind. Gabriel tells Daniel that God promises Messiah, a spiritual Savior, a cut-off Savior, a sin-bearing Savior who would take Israel’s iniquities, confirm His covenant, and bear their punishment (Dan. 9). Gabriel announces to Zacharias that his prayer has been heard. Elizabeth, his 88-year-old wife will bear a son. His name will be John, “God is gracious.” He “shall be great in the sight of the Lord . . . to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Lk. 1:15a, 17b). Six months later, Gabriel appears to Mary announcing that she will bring forth a Son. His name will be JESUS, “Son of God, Messiah, Savior of mankind.” The angel’s message, favorable; God’s ways, incomprehensible. Daniel, prophet of God, given a 70-weeks prophecy, still an unresolved mystery today. Zacharias, devout priest, unable to speak throughout his wife’s pregnancy. The virgin Mary, favored of the Lord, great with Child.

God is above all things. Though we cannot fathom His ways, or understand His acts, we can be certain that He is the very essence of grace and mercy. Because of His nature, He has given us His Son, Jesus, Messiah and Savior. Let us keep our eyes fixed on Him. Our Savior, His glory. He alone gives meaning to the perplexities we encounter as we sojourn on this earth. “Jesus to me is honey in the mouth, music in the ear, a song in the heart.” (Bernard of Clairvaux). Though our words be unsavory, His name is sweet. Though our thoughts be cacophonous, He brings harmony to our mind. Though our heart be troubled, He gives His Song.

“Jesus is the way to God, therefore will we preach Him; He is the truth, therefore will we hear of Him; He is the life, therefore shall our hearts rejoice in Him. His transporting name is an ointment poured forth, and its scent is varied so as to contain the essence of all fragrances” (C. H. Spurgeon).

Do you know God to be your strength? Are your words sweetened with the hope of Jesus? Do you hear His music in your ear? His song in your heart? This day won’t you join the chorus and sing, “We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell; O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Immanuel!”