This weekend (Saturday, December 19) my column will be posted in the Twin Falls – Times News, Sunday (December 20) is my 29th wedding anniversary and on Christmas Eve (December 24) I’ll gather with my church family and family for special occasions. It really is a most wonderful time of the year.
An early look at Saturday’s column:
Tidings of Comfort and Joy!
Like our own national anthem (there are actually four verses) there are other verses to our beloved Christmas carols.
Most of us would be able to remember the familiar tunes to “Joy to the World”, “Away in a Manger”, “Silent Night”. We would be able to even work our way through that first verse of these seasonal treasures.
But, like our national anthem, if your life depended upon reciting any of the other verses we would not be able to save ourselves.
Play a short Christmas carol game with me right now just for the fun of it. Name the Christmas carol these verses belong to.
- God of God, Light of Light eternal,
lo, he abhors not the virgin’s womb;
Son of the Father, Begotten, not created. 1
- The shepherds at those tidings
rejoiced much in mind,
and left their flocks a-feeding
in tempest, storm, and wind,
and went to Bethlehem straightway,
the blessed babe to find. 2
- For Christ is born of Mary,
and gathered all above,
while mortals sleep, the angels keep
their watch of wondering love.
O morning stars, together
proclaim the holy birth,
and praises sing to God the King,
and peace to all on earth.3
On this coming Lord’s Day, and for the past several weeks the church house has been singing these songs that speak of the coming of the Christ, the Messiah. This coming (advent) was the fulfillment of ancient prophesy of Old Testament prophets of Yahweh.
The birth of the Messiah both indicts and excites. Consider this with me.
There is no need for the promise of a Messiah unless there is a need for freedom. If there is a need for freedom then there is a foregone conclusion that there is enslavement. If there is enslavement then there is a hope that freedom will come.
But how, when, by what means, who will bring this freedom?
The authors of many carols seem to want to take us on an historic journey to that little town of Bethlehem and see this promised Messiah. As if someone who wants to take you by the hand to hastily guide you to a place where they just found a treasure they want to share with you.
This is the kind of comfort and joy any enslaved prisoner wants to here. “Today, your freedom has come!” The redeemer has come! The one who will make all things right, the one who not only can pardon us from our debt of sin, but will then settle the debt with the one we’ve offended.
This need for a Messiah, Jesus the Christ, is of great comfort as the truth is shown we are unable to save ourselves. If we could, there is no need for a Messiah. All of humanity, enslaved to sin, long to hear the tidings of comfort and joy.
This, this is Christ the Lord! There are no greater tidings to reach the ears of men than this.
This first coming of the Christ is of great comfort and joy. Believe, trust this! This first coming (advent) of Christ was to seek and to save, His second coming (advent) will be to judge. If the first is true, the second must be true as well, and it is!