Merry Christmas 2015
For my Christmas 2015 post, I offer an excerpt from the hour-long televised Christmas special, The Sights and Sounds of Christmas on Broadway with David Jeremiah (see archived program televised on 12/20/15 here.)
The program was mostly a celebration of Christmas music; however, Jeremiah spoke for about 15 minutes (33:55 to 49:00). I draw my Christmas post from Jeremiah’s words, which begin with the image of snow-silenced New York City:
I was reading recently something this year written by one of my favorite authors, whose name is Frederick Buechner, and he was writing about the great snow that happened in New York City in the winter of 1947. He described what had happened here, and it almost seems impossible that it could have happened this way.
He said it seemed no different from any other snowstorm; the flakes gently floated down without any wind to drive them, and all day, the snow fell.
Gradually, the sidewalks and parked cars and the buildings were covered with a blanket of white. Shopkeepers were out with their shovels, trying to keep a clear path to their doorway, and the snow just kept on falling.
The plows couldn’t keep ahead of it. Consequently, the traffic nearly came to a standstill; businesses closed early, and people did their best to get home before nightfall.
By the next morning, bustling New York was a totally different city. Abandoned cars were buried. Nothing on wheels could move. Skiers glided down Park Avenue, and the most striking transformation of all was the absolutely incredible silence. The only sounds were muffled voices and ringing church bells. People listened because they couldn’t help themselves.
Our world today rarely listens anymore unless there’s a crisis of some sort. But every year, my friend Buechner said, there is an annual illustration of this same, deafening silence at Christmastime.
You see, during the Christmas season, businesses increase to frenzied pace; canned carols blast over all the din of traffic; bells jingle; red-robed Santas freeze in Chicago, and then suddenly, night falls on Christmas Eve. The last shop closes. All of the hullabaloo is over, and everything is silent for one brief day.
It’s unlike anything else in all of culture.
For 24 hours, our world shuts down to celebrate something so magnificently wonderful that we have not recovered from it in over 2,000 years: The obscure birth of a peasant child, seemingly insignificant in its time, reaches across the years to command our attention. For on that historic day, 20 centuries ago, deity embraced humanity.
On that day, God became a man. … John 1:14 puts it this way: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” …
Suppose it hadn’t happened. Suppose we lived in the generations prior to its happening, and just suppose that we would have gotten some advance notice that on some particular day, at some particular place, the Most High God was going to condescend to become a man.
We would celebrate it in the biggest party of all of history.
But ladies and gentlemen, it has happened, and the party has been going on for 2,000 years, and God has become a man, and it is a wonder that deity has embraced humanity. …
On that day, 2,000 years ago, eternity came down and subjected itself to the boundaries of time. Eternity chose to walk in days, and weeks, and years. God voluntarily limited Himself to the boundaries of time.
And that’s what happened on Christmas: In Jesus Christ, eternity embraced time, that those of us, bound by time, might one day embrace eternity.
Merry Christmas, all.