Published week of 12/22/2008 in Earlham Advocate
In the famous musical Mame, there is a production number that continually repeats this refrain: “We need a little Christmas right this very minute.” Many people in our world feel this way. For many of those people the Christmas holiday inspires them and makes them ready for the New Year. The fact is we can have a Christmas whenever we need it because Christ is constantly present.
It is true, we need Christmas right this very minute and the good news is that we have it. The good news is that Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin; He gives us light where there is only darkness.
There was a story I read years ago about a couple named Bill and Doris Forsthoffer. The birth of a baby meant new life to their daughter Jennifer. They could do only one thing to save the life of their daughter who was dying of leukemia. The only thing they could do was to have another child whose bone marrow could be implanted into Jennifer’s. In a very real sense, the birth of a baby brought new life to Jennifer. We cannot help but be reminded that the birth of the baby Jesus means new life for all of us. One of the prophecies about the coming of Christ says that every valley will be exalted and every mountain and hill will be made low. Another prophecy says a highway shall there be made. Christ takes all the mountains and crushes them to get to you. He takes every valley of death and despair and leads you out to green pastures. He takes a terrible road of life and makes a straight and narrow path that leads to safety.
Christ takes the obstacles of life and makes them a safe passage way. He takes the stumbling blocks that cause us so much trouble and makes them stepping stones. So rejoice in the Lord! There will always be a Christmas because there will always be Christ. There is good news for us:
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
There is no better news than this. There is no dark cloud that can withstand the light of the world. There is no despair that cannot be penetrated by the power of God. Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. And don’t take my word for it; these are the words of angels.