The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
Christmas Day, 2021
"Joining the Multitude"
In "A Charlie Brown Christmas," Charlie Brown asks in great frustration, "Is there anybody who knows what Christmas is all about???" His friend Linus replies without hesitation, "Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about." Linus then reads the account of the birth of the Lord Jesus from the Gospel of Luke.
"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." (Luke 2:8-14).
"That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown" concludes Linus. He was right, of course, and I must say I have never heard a reading of the passage that touches my heart as much as Linus's version.
Let us further consider Charlie Brown's question: "is there anybody who knows what Christmas is all about?" The answer is yes. However, only One knows all that Christmas is all about. God alone fully knows what it means that the Lord Jesus took upon Himself our humanity after a previous eternal existence as the infinite and boundless Son of God. God alone knows the sacrifice involved, the life lived by a holy being in an unholy world, and the continual challenges known by the "man of sorrows… acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3). God alone knows what it meant for the Prince of life to experience death and bear the Divine wrath against our sin as suffered on the cross of Calvary. Yes, God alone knows what Christmas is all about, and we do well to ask Him that whatever we presently understand about "God… manifest in the flesh," may our knowledge and awareness grow (I Timothy 3:16).
Personally, this new thought came to me in today's reading. So few humans attended the birth of the Lord Jesus, but "a multitude of the Heavenly host" joined the angel of the Lord in praising God. This seems absolutely as we would expect, doesn't it? It makes me wonder what the angels must have thought, and what they must still think about the frequent lack of human response to the greatness of God's doings. Do they ever wonder in utter bewilderment, "How are they not seeing this????" I do not know if that is the case. But I do know this: I so often join Jacob in his plaintive cry at Bethel, "Surely the Lord is in this place. And I knew it not!" (Genesis 28:16). So, if angels do wonder, I must be a primary source of their astonishment. "How is Glen missing this????"
Thank you, Linus, for the most beautiful of all Christmas readings (and thank you, Charles Schultz, for fighting so hard to have the reading included in the Special - a story for another day). Most of all, thank You, Heavenly Father, for Your "unspeakable gift" (II Corinthians 9:15). You are a wonder. Your Son is a wonder. The Holy Spirit is a wonder. And I hope to wonder much more in days to come, joining the Heavenly multitude in grateful realization that we will find the Lord Jesus not among the masses, not under the bright lights, not amid the noise, but rather where we might least expect Him to be…
"Ye shall find the Babe, wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger."
Weekly Memory Verse
"But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name."