In the Chicago area, we are having a brown Christmas this year. Beautiful clear blue sky and not a cloud in sight. The temp is about 30 degrees, due to rise to the upper 30s before the day is over. And nary a flake of snow to cover the brown grass.
Yesterday, as I was reading Luke 2 in the Bible and reflecting on the night Christ was born, I paused at the part where the angels appeared to the shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus. I don’t use the King James Bible but Luke 2:14 in that version reads:
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace good will toward men.”
Back when I was about age six or seven, I attended Sunday school at a Congregational church that was only a half block from our home. It wasn’t the church denomination either of my parents were raised in, but when we first moved to that house we didn’t have a car, so that neighborhood church became our church for those years.
As in most churches, the children put on a Christmas program each year where the Christmas story was acted out according to Scripture. One year, I was chosen to be an angel. I remember my mom sewing my costume out of lots and lots of gauze, and on top of my blonde curls sat a tinsel halo. I’m sure I must have had wings as well. God has a sense of humor, I’m sure, because I was anything but an angelic child. To top it off, I was given one speaking line. You guessed it. Luke 2:14 in the King James Version, which back then was the only version people used.
I remember saying it over and over and on the night of the performance, I quoted it in the same strong voice I still have, at the top of my lungs. I nailed it. The very first Bible verse I’d ever memorized.
If only back at that tender age I truly understood the meaning behind the words. Like a river, lots of years had to flow under the bridge before my spiritual heart would awaken from its slumber. Not on Christmas, but on a Good Friday afternoon as I sat in a far different church listening to the biblical account of the crucifixion.
That Christmas back in my childhood I celebrated baby Jesus, not really understanding the significance of His coming and probably more focused on what would be under the tree for me Christmas morning. Little realizing that God’s gift to us at Christmas is far more valuable than a bike or a doll.
When I gave my heart to the crucified and risen Jesus on Good Friday over thirty years later, I came to finally understand the words I’d memorized as a child. Because of God’s good will in sending His Son Jesus to earth as a man, I could come to faith in Jesus my Savior and have eternal life with God the Father.
Now I can say loud and clear and with great joy,
“Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will to men!!”