Tiny Thoughts on the Large Matter of Christmas…

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Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise:

When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.

NativityBut while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
–Matthew 1:18-23

The evangelist Matthew tells us that “Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king;”

nativity1Justin Martyr, who was born at Shechem and lived less than a century after the time of Christ, places the scene of the Nativity in a cave. Over this cave has risen the Church and Convent of the Nativity, and there is a stone slab with a star cut in it to mark the spot where the Savior was born.

One famous minister and theologian, who has been at the place, says: “It is impossible to stand in the little Chapel of the Nativity, and to look without emotion on the silver star let into the white marble, encircled by its sixteen burning lamps. To visit such a scene is to have the thoughts carried back to the greatest event in the world’s history, for it has been truly said that the birth of Christ was the world’s second birthday.

Now, death is life! and grief is turned to joy!
Since glory shone on that auspicious morn,
When God incarnate came, not to destroy,
But man to save and manhood’s state adorn !
–W. F. Dawson

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In some churches of old, on Christmas Eve…

…two small lights, typifying the Divine and the human nature, were seen to approach one another gradually, until they met and blended, and a bright flame was kindled.
–Julius G. Hare.

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At a gathering of children on Christmas Day

731d45e13d7b872e7a3ffa15b22f2069A gentleman present related a very interesting incident: “A little girl, but three years of age, was very curious to know why Christmas evergreens were so much used, and what they were intended to signify. So we told her the story of the babe of Bethlehem –of the child whose name was Jesus. The little questioner was just beginning to give voice to the music that was in her heart; and after we concluded the narrative, she looked up in his face and asked, “Did Jesus sing?” Who had ever thought of that? Yet, if you look at Matthew 26:30, you will find almost conclusive proof that Jesus sang with His disciples. Is not that encouragement for us to sing –not with the understanding only, but with the heart also.
–Walter Baxendale

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But when the Holy Babe was born

In the deep hush of night,
It seemed as if a Sabbath morn
Had come with sacred light.
Child Jesus made the place forlorn
With his own beauty bright.
–James Park