The Night Of Nights
The date of our Lord’s birth is unknown to us. It is highly unlikely that December 25th would be correct, and there are relatively few who actually believe it to be so. Once, in a Bible class I was conducting, we were discussing the “Christmas” traditions that many involve themselves in at this time of year. One dear brother spoke up and said, “Well, we don’t celebrate Christ’s birth!” I knew what he meant, and I responded as kindly as I could to him by saying that perhaps he did not celebrate Christ’s birth, but I did. He understood my meaning also and agreed with me. I do not limit my celebration of Jesus’ birth to one date on the calendar. I am grateful every day, and I regularly praise Him for His coming in the flesh to us and for us.
When Jesus was born, someone has said, it was like God came down the stairs holding His newborn Son, all wrapped in swaddling clothes, while heaven and earth looked on. There’s no Scripture that says the angels received any command to worship, but they did. Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.” (Luke 2:13f) As far as I can read when the Savior’s birth was announced on that same night of nights to the nearby shepherds, they received no command to go find the baby, nor to offer praise, nor to spread the news to others. But with hearts full of wonder and joy they did just that anyway! When they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this Child…The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. (Luke 2:17, 20) I can’t see in the Bible any command for those wise men to make their pilgrimage to Bethlehem when they saw the star announcing Jesus’ arrival, nor for them to bring gifts and worship Him, but so they did. On coming to the house, they saw the Child with His mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. (Matthew 2:11) It seems to me that if the angels, the shepherds and the wise men, without a specific command to do so, believed His birth to be worthy of worship…of singing…of joy…of gift-giving…and of sharing, then, perhaps, I may believe that too. The night of Jesus’ birth captures our imagination and inspires us to praise. With the birth of each of our children, Vicki and I decided to do what many other parents do. We decided to remember their birth dates and have an annual celebration for each of them. It was one of our ways of communicating to them how much we treasure them, and, yes, of saying to God, how grateful we were to Him for giving us our children. There is no command to do this. I wouldn’t force it upon anyone else. But it is right for us to do it! Now if I choose to say a special thank-you to God for sending us His only begotten Son, surely it’s alright for me to do so, on December 25th or on any other day of the year. On that night of nights, whatever date it was, God sent His Son, thus enabling Him to live, serve, suffer, die and be raised for the redemption of us all. I praise Him for that. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so anytime, all the time, with our lives and our mouths. Glory to God! And Merry Christmas!