Christmas Has Some Wonderful Things To Say To Us
Have you heard the story about the young woman who lived on a large ranch in Texas? She had fallen in love with a local cowboy named Tex. She wanted to get married, but Tex was inexperienced in the world of romance, and to make matters worse, he was extremely reserved. She realized that she needed to help him a bit to move this relationship along. “Oh Tex,” she said, “do you think my eyes are like glittering stars?” “Yep,” he replied. “And do you think my teeth are like a beautiful string of pearls?” she asked. “Yep,” he answered. “And do you think my complexion is like soft rose petals?” she questioned. “Yep,” he replied. “And do you think my hair shines like gold in the moonlight?” “Yep,” he answered. “Oh Tex,” she exclaimed, “you say the most wonderful things!”
Well, let me tell you something—Christmas has some wonderful things to say to us. Christmas is the dramatic reminder that Jesus Christ came into this world to redeem us and to bring peace to our troubled hearts and lives. The skies around Bethlehem that first Christmas echoed with the wonderful things the angels said: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those whom God favors.” I like to say it like this: “Christmas offers us peace within, peace with others, and peace with God.” I’d like to show you what I mean…
First, Christmas gives us peace within.
The poet expressed it this way:
Though Christ a thousand times
In Bethlehem be born,
If He is not born within you,
Your soul is all forlorn.
One day very close to Christmas, a little boy was walking down the hallway at church, carrying in his hand a little ceramic tray he made in Sunday School. It was to be a Christmas gift for his mother. He had worked hard on it and he was very proud of it. Suddenly, accidentally, a man rounded the corner and bumped into the little boy. The tray crashed to the floor and broke into several pieces. The little boy was devastated and he began to cry. Some other folks gathered around and tried to comfort him with all kinds of counsel: “It’s going to be all right. At least you weren’t hurt. Forget about the tray. You can make another one or you can get something else for your mother. Don’t worry.” It didn’t help. The child was inconsolable. Then his mother arrived on the scene. Quickly she realized what happened. She knelt down beside her distraught son, hugged him tightly, and with that wondrous wisdom which only mothers seem to possess, she said to him: “Let’s pick up the pieces and take it all home. We’ll put it back together, and see what we can make of it.” The little boy hugged his mom back and began to smile.
Isn’t that exactly what the Christmas message is all about? Our lives get broken into many fragments. God stoops down beside us. He hugs us and says: “Let’s pick up the pieces. We’ll put it back together and see what we can make of it.” You see the Christ of Christmas is our personal Savior who comes to us when we need comfort, when we need forgiveness, when we need a new start, when we need peace for our troubled souls. Christmas gives us peace within.
And Christmas gives us peace with others.
Isn’t it sad, when you stop to think about it, how out-of-sorts people can get with each other, how estranged people can become, how hostile they can feel toward each other? Mark it down: revenge actually is never sweet—it always leads to a sour stomach and a bitter memory. Violence only breeds more violence. Hate poisons the soul. Resentment, jealousy, bigotry, prejudice—these are spiritual viruses which will make us sick! Jesus knew that and so He came into this world to show us how to experience peace with others.
Some years ago, the great baseball player, Henry Aaron, was checking into a hotel up east. The young desk clerk told him that they were full up and that there were no rooms available. However, the hotel manager, who was standing nearby, recognized the Hall of Famer. He rushed over to the desk clerk and said: “Don’t you know who this is? This is the great Henry Aaron of the Atlanta Braves. He just broke Babe Ruth’s home run record!” The desk clerk sheepishly said: “Oh, I am sorry, Mr. Aaron. Of course, we can find a room for you.” Then the desk clerk added: “Why didn’t you tell me you were somebody!?!” I love Hank Aaron’s response. He said: “Son, everybody is somebody!”
That’s what Christmas tells us: everybody is somebody! Everybody is somebody for whom Christ came and for whom Christ died. If we could always remember that, what a difference it would make in our world. Listen up! If you are estranged from anybody, if you are at odds with anybody, fix it today. Put it right. With the help of God, go make peace today. Christmas gives us peace within and Christmas gives us peace with others.
Then Christmas gives us peace with God.
It was a dark night in the year 1741. A musician named George Frederic Handel stumbled blindly down a dark street in London. Handel had fallen on hard times. He was depressed, despondent, and filled with despair. Jealous rivalries, ill health and a whole series of devastating misfortunes had broken his spirit. A cerebral hemorrhage had caused partial paralysis. His eyes were beginning to fail. His creativity had all but disappeared in the cloud of troubles that enveloped his life. At age 56, his income gone, his health shattered, he felt certain that his life was over. In this defeated frame of mind, he returned that dismal night to his shabby London flat. When he arrived there, he found a large package at his door. It was from a friend, Charles Jennings. In the package, he found the words for a new sacred piece of music and a letter from Jennings asking Handel to write the music for it.
Still in despair, Handel began to leaf through the pages. Suddenly his eyes fell upon a passage that captivated him: “He was despised and rejected. He looked for someone to have pity on Him, but there was no one—neither found He anyone to comfort Him.” Those words, written about Jesus, actually described how Handel, himself was feeling at that moment—despised, rejected, alone. He read on: “He trusted in God and God did not leave Him…God gave Him rest.” Now the words began to come alive for Handel. They stirred his soul. Then he read: “I know that my Redeemer liveth. Rejoice! Rejoice! Hallelujah!” Suddenly the creative power began to surge up in Handel again. Wondrous, incredible melodies straight from heaven, tumbled into his mind. He sat down and began to write. For the next 24 straight days, catching only cat naps, hardly stopping to eat, he worked. Sometimes, he was so moved by what he was writing, that he wept. Other times he shouted with joy. At last he finished. Exhausted he fell on his bed, slept for 17 hours, but on his desk was the musical score of what may be the greatest, most beloved piece of sacred music ever written, “The Messiah.” And from that moment to the end of his life, though he encountered other tough times, Handel’s spirit remained undaunted. Why? What made the change? Simply this—he experienced Christmas. He received the Messiah. Not just the music, but the person. Christ was born in the manger of his heart and it transformed his life.
So let me ask you: Do you know the one born on Christmas Day? Do you know Him? Do you know Him as Savior and Lord? Have you accepted Him into your life? Has He been born in your heart? If so, then you will know peace within, and peace with others, and, most wonderful of all, peace with God…