To fight for his life is a privilege which God gives to every man.”
–James Oliver Curwood (The Valley of Silent Men a Story of the Three River Country)
“For with God nothing will be impossible.”
–Luke 1:37 (NKJV)
I want to take a look at the words of a Christmas Carol. I didn’t use them much this year, which is unusual for me. But we live in a crazy, mixed-up world. A world full of fear, anger, hatred, and bitterness. There is anger from all quarters, and people are still running in fear from the virus that is among us. I remembered a couple of verses from this great hymn penned by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. It would help you understand the carol better if you would take the time to read some of the life of Longfellow and to get the background from which he was writing. I will say that it was in the midst of the turmoil of the Civil War.
“And in despair I bowed my head:
‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said,
‘For hate is strong, and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men.'”
Here was a man in despair. What was happening to his life, his family, and his country? Hate is strong” my how true is that today. But then something happened; he remembered from deep in his soul when he heard the sounding of the bells.
“Then peeled the bells more loud and deep:
‘God is not dead: nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.'”
God is still in control. He does not waver, He is never taken by surprise, and He always cares for His children. That made me think of an unusual Scripture of the Incarnation.
Remember, I wrote last week that I have often pondered the Incarnation. We see much evil in the world today, but there was hatred, anger, and bitterness like never before on that first Christmas Eve–at least in the spiritual realm. Often I have thought of what it must have been like in that realm with the Son putting aside His glory, leaving His throne in heaven to become man, even being born as a baby.
“Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne.”
–Revelation 12:1-5 (NKJV)
Notice the dragon. He was there, at the manger, ready to devour. I always thought that Satan relished the thought of Jesus being born as a baby, thinking that it would be able to destroy Him. As soon as Christ was born, the devil was ready to take action.
On a hillside, not far from Bethlehem, there was a “heavenly host” praising God and appearing to the shepherds. I think it is interesting that this term is used. In the Old Testament the often see God referred to as the “Lord of Hosts,” which means the commander of the armies of heaven. When we see the angels at the birth of Christ, notice they are praying. They do not have swords in their hands, but I think they were ready to draw them from their scabbards should they be needed to protect the baby Jesus.
What a night that must have been, not only in the stable with Joseph and Mary with the birth of Jesus, but the spiritual world but have been extremely active. Satan, the dragon, was ready to destroy. The angels were there; there is no mention of Michael, but surely he was in the stable to confront the dragon if necessary. My what a night; my what a story; my what a wonderful salvation and Savior.
P.S. This is the last Echo until after Christmas. I am not sure when I will begin again. From my family to all of yours–MERRY CHRISTMAS! Even so, come, Lord Jesus!