Summary: In America we are blessed n ways that the world at large can only dream about and hope for. Let us celebrate God's Living Word of Salvation through Jesus Christ, God's Son and our Savior!
BLESSED BY THE COMING OF GOD’S LIVING WORD OF SALVATION
In the 119th Psalm, David celebrated God’s Word – a lamp unto his feet and a lamp unto his path. In the 41st verse, David expressed a deep longing in his heart for the coming of God’s Living Word of Salvation: “Let your faith love come to me, O Lord, your salvation according to your promise.”
“O Come, O Come Emmanuel”
For centuries, the people that walked in darkness had been promised that God would send the Messiah to save them from their enemies of sin and death.
When the time had come, the Lord our God kept His promise and sent His Son to be the Savior of the world so that whosoever will might come to know Him whom to know is life eternal.
On Christmas Day, let us celebrate the coming of God’s Living Word of Salvation.
“O Come, All Ye Faithful”
John 1:1-4 and 14 . . . It was Christmas Eve in the Austrian Alps and Pastor Joseph Mohr was preparing for the midnight service. He was distraught when he found out that the church organ was broken, ruining prospects for that evening’s carefully planned music. But the pastor was about to learn that our problems are God’s opportunities, that the Lord causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him. It came to the pastor’s mind to write a new song, one that could easily be sung without an organ. Hastily, he wrote the words, “Silent Night, Holy Night, all is calm, all is bright.” Taking the text to his organist, Franz Gruber, he explained the situation and asked Franz to compose a simple tune. On that night, December 24th, 1818, accompanied by a guitar, the hymn we love at Christmas was sung for the first time.
“Silent Night, Holy Night”
Isaiah 9:6-7 . . . Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote the hymn “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” in 1863 for Sunday School children in Boston. The Civil War was at its worst. Six months earlier 40,000 men had been killed, wounded, or reported missing from both sides. Longfellow’s son Charley, age 19, had been wounded about one month before, and was being cared for in the Longfellow’s home. It is not difficult to see how Longfellow bowed his head in despair and thought “there is no peace on earth”. The great poet poured out his soul for peace and good will in that very troubled time in the history of our nation.
“I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”
Matthew 1:18-23 . . .
“It Came Upon the Midnight Clear”
Luke 1:26-38 . . . Phillip Brooks, the author of “O Little Town of Bethlehem”, is considered as one of the greatest preachers in American history. On December 13, 1865, traveling by horseback from Jerusalem, he attended Christmas Even Service at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
Brooks never could “get away” from the wonderful experience of that night at the very place where Jesus was born. Three years later, as he prepared for the Christmas season of 1867, he wanted to compose a Christmas hymn for the children to sing during their annual Christmas program. Recalling the inspiration of that early Bethlehem experience, he penned the words to “O Little Town of Bethlehem”.
Brooks asked his organist to write the music to his poem. The organist struggled with the assignment, saying he felt no “inspiration”. Finally, on the night before the Christmas program, he awoke in the middle of the night with the melody ringing in his soul. He jotted down the melody, then went back to sleep. The next day, a group of six Sunday School teachers and 36 children sang “O Little Town of Bethlehem”.
“O Little Town of Bethlehem”
Luke 2:1-7 . . . For sheer beauty and childlike simplicity, the carol “Away in a Manger” claims special attention. For almost sixty years it was thought to have been written by Martin Luther because it had been published in 1885 in a Lutheran collection of hymns. Actually, the authorship is not known. “Away in a Manger” is a gentle lullaby, tender and warm, especially loved by children; and when adults of any age sing it, they become children again. So, let us become children again.
“Away in a Manger”
Luke 2:8-14 . . .
“Hark, The Herald Angels Sing”
Luke 2:15-20 . . .
And we too, for the rest of our lives on this earth but even more so when we all get to Heaven, shall go on praising God for His Wondrous Gift of eternal life made possible, and available to all who believe, by the coming of God’s Living Word of Salvation. Joy to the world! The Lord has come!
“Joy to the World”
God our Father: Thank you for sending the Gift of the Christ Child so we could know Your salvation. We accept the Gift. We live the Gift. We share the Gift. Amen.