Posted December 25, 2019 at http://www.opendoorsusa.org , in the Standing Strong Through the Storm daily devotional.
A depressed Chinese communist local party boss went to a church to hear the preaching of a very sincere and learned elder he knew. Here is his story in his own words:
It was the first Sunday of December. I remember the preacher talked about “The Angel’s Song.” After the service I spoke to him, “You know, I really can’t see what all the fuss is about Jesus. He was a man of moral ideals, and died for his belief, but lots of other religions have such men, too.”
This elder smiled and said, “Are you looking for God?”
“I suppose I am,” I admitted to him.
He asked again, “Well, if Jesus doesn’t seem to be up to it, what sort of God would you be looking for?”
I answered slowly, thinking it through, “I guess a God who first of all is totally powerful, and then is also totally just or fair.”
The elder probed again, “But how would you know a God like that was interested in you?”
I said, “Then he would also have to be a God of love.”
The elder challenged me by saying, “If you find a God who is all three: powerful, just, loving, would you trust Him?”
“I might,” I replied “but I would need to find an event that proved he was all three.”
“Take this Bible,” said the elder, handing me what I saw was his own copy of the Bible, “and come back to me if you find an event that shows God is supremely and uniquely all three.”
I started reading the Bible and pretty soon I came across that verse the elder had preached on the morning I attended the church. “Glory to God in the highest.” What was it that made the angels so excited? After all they had witnessed, what was so unique about the birth of Jesus?
I had little time to brood on this because my wife was expecting our first child. All went well with the delivery and I held the little warm bundle, gazing into his peaceful sleeping face. What perfection the baby seemed. As I looked, the more I was amazed by the sheer miracle of birth.
Had I really used the word “miracle” to describe the birth of my son? Then I thought, the miracle of the birth of Jesus had to be more than just a miracle of birth to impress those angels so much. I read on, and the Spirit of God gave light to my eyes. God had become a baby!
I looked for three characteristics of the God I would trust. Power. This had to be a greater act than the creation of the world. In the beginning God was merely bringing a world into being.
Love. God came! If He wasn’t interested, He would not have bothered to come at all. After all, Jesus had a very hard life, not the kind of life that anyone would wish for.
Justice. God loved us so much, He came. He came Himself to redeem sinful man. Here was the meaning and glory of Christianity—all captured in the incarnation.
I wept and wept in my little study. I must have stayed on my knees for hours. When I looked at my watch, and suddenly noticed the date…it was the 25th of December…Christ’s birthday! That Christmas was so real. I saw in the cradle the infinite power, justice and love of God supremely and uniquely illustrated. As long as I live, I will celebrate Christmas every day.
Luke 2:8-15 — 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 that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, 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 heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
II Corinthians 5:19 — God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself…
I Peter 3:18 — For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.
“From Heaven Above to Earth I Come” (ten of fifteen verses)
by Martin Luther, 1483-1546
1. “From heaven above to earth I come
To bear good news to every home;
Glad tidings of great joy I bring,
Whereof I now will say and sing:
2. “To you this night is born a child
Of Mary, chosen virgin mild;
This little child, of lowly birth,
Shall be the joy of all the earth.
3. “This is the Christ, our God and Lord,
Who in all need shall aid afford;
He will Himself your Savior be
From all your sins to set you free.
5. “These are the tokens ye shall mark:
The swaddling-clothes and manger dark;
There ye shall find the Infant laid
By whom the heavens and earth were made.”
6. Now let us all with gladsome cheer
Go with the shepherds and draw near
To see the precious gift of God,
Who hath His own dear Son bestowed.
8. Welcome to earth, Thou noble Guest,
Through whom the sinful world is blest!
Thou com’st to share my misery;
What thanks shall I return to Thee?
9. Ah, Lord, who hast created all,
How weak art Thou, how poor and small,
That Thou dost choose Thine infant bed
Where humble cattle lately fed!
13. Ah, dearest Jesus, holy Child,
Make Thee a bed, soft, undefiled,
Within my heart, that it may be
A quiet chamber kept for Thee.
14. My heart for very joy doth leap,
My lips no more can silence keep;
I, too, must sing with joyful tongue
That sweetest ancient cradle-song:
15. Glory to God in highest heaven,
Who unto us His Son hath given!
While angels sing with pious mirth
A glad new year to all the earth.