Saturday, December 25, 2010

Break Forth, O Beauteous Heavenly Light

Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. For behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; but the LORD will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Isaiah 60:1-3

I'm sure the sun came up on Christmas morning, just like every morning. But I'm also sure there was an extra light illuminating Bethlehem and its surrounds, even more than the star that shone above the stable. The Son of God has come to earth! The child, now "weak in infancy," would grow up to be our confidence and joy, breaking the power of Satan and giving us eternal peace.

Can you imagine what the shepherds thought when they were visited by the angel?

In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased." When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, "Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us." Luke 2:8-15

I love the shepherds' response: "let's go right away!" They didn't want to waste even a moment. The Lord had sent His message of love and deliverance to them and they rushed to get to the stable to see the new baby King born to bring eternal light to the world. Do you think they realized that this babe that they worshiped would take their sins on His body and then conquer death forever by rising from the dead? They knew and believed what the angels had told them: A Savior is born to you. A Savior. The One they had waited for, generation after generation.

On this Christmas morning, let's lift our voices in praise along with the angels who visited the shepherds so many years ago. Our Lord Jesus Christ deigned to be our brother. He was born fully human, yet still fully God, and served here on Earth, being obedient to His Father.

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:5-8

Let our prayer be the same as the man who wrote this hymn: that we would with constant praise seek His face. Oh come, let us adore Him!

Break Forth, O Beauteous Heavenly Light
Words by Johann Rist

Break forth, O beauteous heavenly light,
And usher in the morning;
O shepherds, shrink not with afright,
But hear the angel’s warning.
This Child, now weak in infancy,
Our confidence and joy shall be,
The power of Satan breaking,
Our peace eternal making.

All blessing, thanks and praise to thee
Lord Jesus Christ, be given
Thou hast our brother deigned to be
Our foes in sunder riven.
O grant us through our day of grace
With constant praise to seek Thy face
Grant us ere long in glory
With praises to adore thee.

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