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O Holy Night: Christmas Series


“O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.”  By Placide Cappeau, 1847

God had a plan from way back, before the foundations of the earth. He created the species of man to fellowship with Him and to populate the planet. In His great wisdom and foresight—before we ever arrived on the scene—He saw that we would go our own way, fall into sin, and descend into the agony of spiritual darkness.

He gave the first hint of His plan to pull humanity out of the abyss of their own making early in man’s history. After the man and woman He created fell into deception and disobedience (see Genesis 3:1-7), God told the serpent, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel” (Genesis 3:15).

And so it came to pass. Jesus came to earth through the seed of woman; the virgin birth enabled the Savior to be both a Man—through Mary, His mother—and to be God, through the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit (see Luke 1:35). And as history rolled on through time, God gave more hints about His plan to deliver men and women from their sinful nature through an astonishing sacrificial act. And according to Galatians 4:4, “…when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law.

In due season. For millennia the world, steeped in sin, pined away in error, and tooled along on an evil course. So dark and oppressed was the race of man. The Jews, likewise subject to the permeating stain of sin, nonetheless held promise through their holy Scriptures of hope and help from Heaven that the Messiah—the stem of Jesse, the Promised One—would someday appear and set up His Kingdom.

At the right time. “…when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law.” Jesus, the Son of Man and the Son of God, was born at the right time into the history of the human race. Angels proclaimed His birth. Wise men from the east calculated—by the stars and Hebrew prophecy—the exact timing and location of the birth of this new King.

And the world?

“The thrill of hope
The weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.”

The shackles of sin would soon be broken by the voluntary sacrifice of the Man who now lay as a baby in a manger. “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:17).

Yet for so many, the chains of sin remain, two thousand years later. Darkness still seems to permeate the planet. How could that be? Again, let’s look at Scripture. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

You see, Jesus voluntarily gave His life as a sacrifice for the sins of mankind; likewise, receiving deliverance from those sins is also on a voluntary basis for every individual man, woman, and child. “Whoever believes in Him…” is a voluntary act; the one true God never coerces or intimidates anyone into submission; He states His case, He reasons with facts, He displays signs and wonders, and He woos. When religion is imposed with threats or violence, God is not in it.

Many throughout the past two millennia have attempted to force their brand of “whoever believes in Him” upon others through coercion, threats, tyrannical laws, and wars. But wise souls have always known that such enforcement was never the plan of God. God’s plan—then, now, and forever—was this: for His Son to bear the sin, sorrow, and error of our race, thus canceling out our debt of sin, and to simply receive anyone and everyone who believed in Him from the heart as sons and daughters.

This is the reason for the “thrill of hope”. This is why the “weary world rejoices”. And this is why each soul can now feel its worth—because whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. The God of all things places great worth on each human soul; He sees worth in you.

We sing, we pray, we celebrate because of who that little baby was—the Sacrificial Lamb, the Son of God and the Son of Man. In the fullness of time, that little child of Bethlehem laid down His life for you and for me—voluntarily—because He valued us.

What can we do in response to such a great and selfless act? Listen to the carol:

Fall on your knees
O hear the angel voices
O night divine
O night when Christ was born
O night divine
O night, o night divine.”

Take time this season to fall on your knees and affirm your faith in the baby of Bethlehem; worship Him—the Christ—the Son of God and the Son of Man.

Dorothy

© 2015, Dorothy Frick