In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God,
and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God.
God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him.
The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. John 1:1-5 (NLT)
I caught myself humming this song yesterday. I’ve sung this song forever; I don’t even need to look at the words. Yesterday, I looked at the words. For me, Christmas has always been a celebration of Christ coming to earth. I always stopped with that. I saved the rest for Easter. This year I’ve been struck with the reason Christ came; to bring us peace, both here in this life and eternally by dying for our sin and reconciling us to God.
The first verse starts out with the great NEWS! Christ is born today. It is the news the angels proclaimed to the shepherds. News so great the heavenly host, all the angels in heaven, filled the sky to shout it. No news has been greater. This news has ever been needed more than it is today.
Once you hear this news, the response can only be JOY! JOY! Christ has opened heaven’s door, and that offers endless bliss. Christ was born for this. He first appears to our eyes as a baby, but don’t be deceived. John talks about who this baby is in John 1:1-18. No ordinary baby, Jesus existed before time and is now the light that shines in the darkness to show men the way to God.
Peace! Peace! Now you need not fear the grave. In the text of this song, it’s death. I don’t think it’s wrong to think of “grave” as an adjective, rather than a noun, in this sentence. There are many grave circumstances in our daily lives; now we need not fear the grave things. There is a never-ending smorgasbord of things to fear these days; from the superficial to the weighty. Watching TV the other day I found out my armpits may not be sufficiently pretty. Really? I also saw a tragedy beyond understanding. Now, more than ever, fear is skulks just beyond what we can see, and festers in our imaginations. Then, on occasion, fear grows beyond what we can imagine and like a punch to the gut we are left speechless and trembling; wondering how to continue, questioning everything we thought we knew as safe. Christ’s call is: PEACE. In this carol, He’s a baby and not speaking. Later, Jesus will speak “PEACE” quiet often.
Jesus was born to save; both eternal salvation and salvation from the daily assault of this fallen world.
Christ’s call is for everyone; that is the characteristic of Christ I admire most and, sadly, emulate least. Christ came for everyone: from the shepherd to the Magi. There is always room for one more who hears the NEWS to experience the JOY and PEACE; to ANYONE who believes in Him, He gives the right to become a child of God.
With heart and soul and voice – REJOICE. Christ was born. He was born to make a way to heaven. He was born to bring us peace. He’s calling you.
Father, as I hear the pain and fear in the voices of those who have suffered loss, I think of all of the suffering going on in the world. We live in a tragic, hopeless world. One you didn’t plan. I know Your heart breaks to see this fallen world. Thank you for sending The Light, Christ, to shine in our darkness. Thank you for the joy and peace that can only come from knowing You. Help our pain drive us to the only source of true Joy and peace; Your Son, Jesus. Thank you for sending us a savior, we are utterly lost without Him.