A Christmas Eve Meditation:  The Doxology of the Angels, Luke 2: 8-20

 
A little girl was taken to an elegant department store by a "rich uncle" who was going to buy her a lavish Christmas gift. From a fabulous display of gifts, she was to choose anything that she wanted, and it would be bought for her, regardless of size or price. Delighted, and overwhelmed by the profusion of gifts, she began shopping around. A salesman, with the prospect of an extraordinary sale, did his utmost to be helpful; and after a while the manager of the department also gave assistance. After hovering endlessly over a wide selection, including the most elaborate and expensive gifts, the little girl reached a conclusion, "Do you mean," she asked, "that I can really have anything I want—just anything?" Being reassured, she said, "Then, this is what I want." Retracing her steps, she picked up and tenderly pressed to her bosom a tiny plush squirrel, prices at twenty-four cents!
 
* * *
 
Too many people get too little out of Christmas. For advertisers, it is not angels singing, but singing commercials. For merchants, it's a holiday with a carnival spirit with a push for increased profits. For some, it's a hectic scramble for gifts and Christmas trees. For others, it’s a dissipating round of social functions.
 
Too many people never experience real Christmas joy. The angel preacher said, "I bring you good tidings of great joy." There was joy for the shepherds, the virgin mother, and the wise men. The angel emphasized, this joy was "to all people." Not all shepherds left their flocks; not all wise men saw the star; the villagers slept; and the innkeeper missed a great opportunity.
 
Born in obscurity, in a backwater town, without fanfare: born as a babe in the manger, Jesus, the divine Son of God, was noticed by no one but Heaven itself. The angel chorus added something essential: "glory . . . peace . . . good will."
 
            The angels' "Doxology" is God's divine formula for a perfect Christmas.
 
Let every observance this Christmas be to the glory of God.
 
This lifts our Christmas far above the ordinary holiday atmosphere, with revelry and excesses, which profane this holy season.
This places Christ at the center—"He that honoueth not the Son honoureth not the Father" (John 5:23).
This places Christ at the head of the Christmas list.
 
"The one thing that we enjoy most, at Christmas time," said the wife of a prominent businessman, "is the distribution of gifts to needy Christian causes." This was over and above their monthly program of systematic giving. By Christmastime, they knew fairly well the outcome of the year's operations; they knew their abilities, and were ready to enjoy this high point of their celebration.
 
Let every observance be to the furtherance of "peace and good will."
 
Let Christmas be . . .
A time to pray, "Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me."
A time for strengthening old ties and building bridges to new friends.
The sending of Christmas cards, begun in 1842, has marvelous possibilities.
            "May friendships grow dearer,
            life's meaning be clearer,
            and heaven come nearer—at Christmas!"
A time for repairing injured relationships.
The only balm for a soul that has sinned is forgiveness. (Matt. 5: 23-24)
The only balm for a soul that has been sinned against is forgiveness. (Matt. 18: 15-17)
            Better, one note asking or extending forgiveness than a thousand perfunctory greeting cards.
            Better, one real reconciliation than the distribution of truckloads of expensive gifts.
 
The way to fullness of Christmas joy is not by some secret formula, but by responding to the "Doxology of the Angels."
 
            Receiving, with Christ left out, leaves the heart empty.
            Giving, however lavish, with Christ left out leaves the heart hungry.
 
The fullness of Christmas joy is available to every empty life, every hungry heart.
 
An elderly woman was still spending several evenings a week volunteering at a rescue mission in New York City. Looking back over a wealth of happy Christmas memories, she pointed to one Christmas as the greatest in her long and eventful life. It was that Christmas when, as a young woman, she had been persuaded to attend an evening service at the mission, which afterwards became one of the greatest concerns of her life. Here, on that first visit, she had made the saving contact with the Christ of Christmas, the hope of empty lives and broken hearts.
 
May you find and celebrate the Christ of Christmas in your life.
 
Merry Christmas. God bless you.
 
Rev. Rosemary Stelz
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