Posted by: stpowen | December 23, 2014

Hark, the Glad Sound! The Saviour comes

John 1:14. ‘And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.’

At the close of the year, I would like to thank my longsuffering readers for putting up with me for another 12 months.
During 2014, we have seen all sorts of disasters coming upon God’s people, whether in Pakistan, Nigeria or the Middle East. We see, “….Distress of nations, with perplexity….men’s hearts failing them for fear, and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth” (Luke 21:25-6). In this country, we see evangelical Christianity becoming less and less acceptable to much of society, and their is the feeling that things are only likely to get worse in the coming year.

But yet, at Christmastime we remember the most amazing act, the pivotal event, of history, the coming of God to earth in human flesh. I know no other hymn that captures the wonder of Christmas than this little-known one by Charles Wesley:

Glory be to God on high,
And peace on earth descend;
God comes down, He bows the sky,
And shows Himself our friend.
God the invisible appears;
God, the blest, the great I AM,
Sojourns in this vale of tears,
And Jesus is His name.

Him the angels all adored,
Their Maker and their King;
Tidings of their humbled Lord
They now to mortals bring.
Emptied of His majesty,
Of His dazzling glories shorn,
Being’s source begins to be,
And God Himself is born.

See the eternal Son of God
A mortal Son of man;
Dwelling in a humble clod,
Whom heaven cannot contain.
Stand amazed, ye heavens, at this!
See the Lord of earth and skies;
Humbled to the dust He is,
And in a manger lies.

We, the sons of men, rejoice,
The Prince of Peace proclaim;
With heaven’s host lift up our voice,
And shout Immanuel’s Name:
Knees and hearts to Him we bow;
Of our flesh and of our bone,
Jesus is our brother now,
And God is all our own.

May we not say at Christmas, just as well as at Easter, ‘If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?’ (Romans 8:31-2)? The season reminds us that God has a gracious plan for this world, and He put it into operation that first Christmas. The violence of Moslem extremists serves to remind us that the Bible is true (Luke 21:16-19; John 16:2-4) as does the increasing immorality of the West (2 Timothy 3:1-5), but we need not despair, for our God stills reigns, even in the midst of His enemies and the coming of Christ into the world is the sure sign that He will complete what He has started.

‘Behold My Servant whom I uphold, My elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put my Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles……..He will bring forth justice and truth; He will not fail nor be discouraged ’til He has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands shall wait for His law’ (Isaiah 42:1, 3-4).

A very merry Christmas to all who read this, and good cheer and confidence in the New Year.

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