Can you believe it? We are only three weeks away from Christmas Eve! I know it sounds trite and cliche, but I really think time is speeding up. I can’t believe another year has already gone by. Because of the pace of our lives, sometimes we forget to slow down long enough to reflect on what is happening around us . . . and praise God. That is why I am writing these devotionals for us this Christmas season. While all of us are running from here to there this month . . . from office parties to shopping malls . . . we will probably hear plenty of Christmas music. Whether it is on the radio in our cars, streaming on our iPods, or blaring over the loudspeakers at Wal Mart, we will hear songs that speak of our Savior. These short devotionals are designed to help us think about the meaning of these songs that we hear so that when they come on in the background, our mind can bring them to the forefront, and we can praise Him.
Today I want to focus on the lyrics to an original Christmas song that Michael W. Smith and Gloria Gaither wrote in the late 1980’s and appeared on Smith’s album “Christmas.” The song is called “Anthem for Christmas” and focuses on the grand scope of the Christmas story. The song takes its inspiration from John 1:1-5 which says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” Literally, these verses indicate that Jesus (the Word), already existed in the time we know of as the “beginning.” The Greek text of John 1:1 literally says, “In the beginning, the Word already was. . .”
What is the significance of that for Christians? I think it is quite significant. Since Jesus already existed in power and majesty (He created the world that we live in), then His earthly birth and humble life was quite a massive change of venue. He was leaving something perfect and powerful behind to take upon Himself something stained and deteriorating. As Wesley’s Hymn “And Can It Be?” states, “He left His Father’s throne above, so free, so infinite His grace. Emptied Himself of all but love and bled for Adam’s helpless race.” Sometimes we think of Jesus starting out lowly from the manger to the cross, then being exalted after His resurrection. The truth of Scripture is that Jesus started out as God “in the beginning,” exalted and on high. He then humbled Himself and came to the earth from Bethlehem to Golgotha, before returning exalted to heaven. The eternal existence of Christ as God adds a new depth to the love story that is Christmas.
Sometimes at night after we put our son to bed, he will cry out for help. We don’t know if he is just uncomfortable, sick, scared, or experiencing insomnia, but for whatever reason, he wants us to be with him. Now, if he calls out to me, and I am already up and moving around the house, then it is no big deal for me to go into his room and tuck him back in while reading a story or rubbing his back. But, if he calls out to me, and I am already in bed, snug and warm under the covers, then it will cost me something to get up and go in and see what he needs. When I am in bed and my son calls out for help and I go to help him, that is a true “Dad” moment. I am sacrificing my comfort for his care . . . because I love Him. Knowing the eternal existence of Christ reminds us of His great love for us. He left the comfort and grandeur of heaven to come to this earth to care for us. He did this of His own free will because He loves us. Think about that as you read the lyrics to this great contemporary Christmas hymn today.
“In the space of the beginning was the living Word of Light
When this Word was clearly spoken all that came to be was right.
All creation had a language – words to say what must be said.
All day long the heaven whispered, signing words in scarlet red.
Some have failed to understand it so God spoke His final Word
On a silent night in Judah’s hills a Baby’s cry was heard.
‘Glory!’ sang the angel chorus
‘Glory!’ echoed back the night
Love has come to walk among us, Christ the Lord is born this night
All creation sing His praises
Earth and heaven praise His name
All who live come join the chorus, find the words His love proclaim.
Find the words His love proclaim.”