Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Making

by J. R. Miller, 1910

INTRODUCTION

To those everywhere who desire to let the love of Christ have its way in them; to those who are ready also to forget themselves and to make happiness for others; to those who want to do something to make the world brighter and sweeter, and a better place to live in—these pages are cheerfully dedicated.

"Life is an education in love." Hugh Black

Learning to love is a long lesson. It takes all of the longest life to learn it. The most inveterate obstacle in mastering the lesson—is SELF, which persists with an energy which nothing but divine grace can overcome! When no longer we seek our own, in any of our relations with others—we have learned to love. Until then we still need to stay in Christ's school.

"Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to men on whom His favor rests." Luke 2:14

There were two parts in the song the angels sang the night Jesus was born. The first part, was an outburst of praise to God. "Glory to God in the highest!" God should always be put first. He should be first in our hearts, first in our love, first in our worship, first in our trust. It was fitting that the first note of the angels' song, should be to God. The great blessing of that night, was God's unspeakable gift to men, and to God—the highest honor should be raised. "Glory to God!" Before we begin our rejoicing at the Christmas time—we should bow reverently before God and praise him.

The second part of the angels' song, referred to the meaning of Christmas to this world, to the blessings it would bring to His people, to the change and transformation it would work. "On earth peace, good-will toward men."

We always have a part in making our own blessings. A friend wishes us a happy birthday. The wish is sincere and there is a great heart of love back of it. But nothing will come of it—unless we take it and make it real in our won life. God has most loving thoughts for us. He is always planning good for us. Yet God puts his good things into our hearts—only through our personal acceptance and appropriation of them by faith, and our assimilation of them in our conduct and character by obedience.

Christmas as a day in the calendar comes in its season, whatever our response may be. God sends it, like his sunshine and his rain, on the evil and the good, on the just and the unjust. But Christmas in its divine meaning will become real to us—only as it reenacts itself in our own experience.

Christmas is the gladdest of all the Christian festivals. It brings a great joy to all the earth. It is for all men. There is scarcely a home so lowly, in such neglect and poverty—but the Christmas spirit touches it with some little brightness, and the Christmas love carries into it a little breath of warmth, a thought of gentleness and kindness. There is scarcely a life so desolate, so cut off from companionships, so without the blessing of human love—but Christmas finds it with some tenderness, some sense of kinship and fellowship, some word of sympathy and cheer, some token of thought, something to brighten the dreariness, and soften the hardness. The day makes nearly every little child in the land happier. It is observed in nearly every home. Think of the millions of dollars that are spent in preparation, in buying gifts—from the simplest toys among the poor, to the most costly presents among the rich. There is no need to plead for the observance of Christmas. But there would seem to be need for serious thought about the real meaning of the day; and the way to make it—so as to get the most we can from it.

How did the world come to have a Christmas? God gave it to us. It was his gift. The story is told in the New Testament. There is one great verse which tells how it came: "God so loved the world—that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish—but have everlasting life." Christmas thus began in the heart of God. The world did not ask for it—it was God's own thought. We love—because he first loved us. All the love that warms and brightens this old earth—was kindled from the one heavenly lamp that was lighted the first Christmas night. The Child that was born that first Christmas—was the Son of God. God so loved the world—that he gave his one and only Son.

Think of the beginning... continue reading here.

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