THE VOICE OF CHRISTMAS
(The idea for this message came from a colleague of mine Rev. Terry Forke, the President of the Montana District of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, who wrote an article in the November Lutheran Witness titled “Listen to Him”).
Over 2000 years ago, the angels announced to the Shepherds of Bethlehem the Greatest News in the world. Thus the angels spoke: “Fear not, for behold, I bring you Good News of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:10-12).
That is the Voice of Christmas, telling the world that the Savior has been born. That the heaven-sent Messenger has taken up flesh and blood, and came to live among us to redeem us from the punishment of hell and to forgive our sins.
The Voice of Christmas is telling the world the reason the Savior came. The Voice of Christmas is God’s gift to the world. The Voice of Christmas is God undoing the work of the devil and man in the Garden of Eden so that man may have life and peace and joy in His presence.
However, something has happened since that Voice of Christmas was first spoken. Today, the Voice of Christmas has nothing to do with Christmas at all. Some have even attempted to drown that Voice and replace it with something else because it is no longer “politically correct” thing.
To be sure there are many voices and noises that we hear during this time of the year. The weeks before Christmas we hear many different voices. But these voices are nothing but clinging noise that fills the air and our ears with empty, shallow and hollow promises and leave the most important part of Christmas out–the birth of the God-Man Jesus.
We hear all types of voices that vie for our attention. Have you noticed how long and winsomely the voices of the world have been wooing you into their stores for their godless version of Christmas? Wal-Mart began right after Halloween (skipping right over Thanksgiving). The Salvation Army bell is clanging. Clerks are wishing a politically correct “Happy Holidays” while the cash registers dance to the noise of change and credit cards being used. Children are chattering about this year’s sensational toy. Hollywood is barking over its year-end offerings. The family is arguing about where Christmas dinner will be at. And Wall Street is whining that we haven’t spent enough this season. Amazingly, we are rarely aware of this voice (the noise in the background). We live with it, without knowing what it does to our psyche or to our spiritual walk.
There are other voices too, that steal us away from the Voice of Christmas that tells of the Savior’s birth. Have you noticed how many songs that are sung on the radio, malls and even in our homes have nothing to do with Christmas? Here are but a few of these songs (don’t hit me on the head as you see me in the street since these could be your favorite). “Deck the Hall” “Jingle Bells” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” “I Am Dreaming of A White Christmas” and of course we can’t leave out the favorite of many, “Santa Claus is coming to town”.
Santa’s voice is jolly as he makes his rounds in the streets and chimneys. Have you noticed how Santa’s voice beckons us to experience the joy of giving? He speaks of laughter, of tradition, of suspense and of good little boys and girls. All these things are fun, they make you feel good, put a smile on your face and quick step in your feet; but they are NOT the Savior of the world. Santa’s voice is very, very loud. He is not just another voice, but he has become the Voice of Christmas for the majority of listeners. The world can ease its Christmas conscience by listening to him instead of the true Voice of Christmas–Jesus–the New Born King. The Savior comes to speak to our burdened hearts and guilty consciences, but we are eager to change the channel and listen to someone else.
Whose voice are you listening to during these Advent days? Now I am not a scrooge or one who doesn’t enjoy good music or laughter or traditions. I do. But in our Advent and Christmas preparations, let us not forget to listen to the true Voice of Christmas. Of course there are many things to be done and completed before we kneel at the manger. Care must be taken so that this preparation does not drown the voice of Jesus in our attempts to make Christmas more Christmassy.
The voice of the Savior was first heard as the cry of a little baby in His mother’s arms. His voice was heard as He read the Hebrew Scripture (Old Testament), and explained the Scriptures to all who would listen. Later, His Father revealed Jesus to the disciples saying: “This is My Beloved Son, listen to Him”.
Regardless of how many voices vie for our ears and hearts, Jesus will not be silent. He didn’t remain in Bethlehem as a baby. His message became more emphatic and articulate than the cries of a newborn baby. He grew up and went to the cross to earn man’s salvation. In His death and resurrection, we hear most clearly the message of Jesus. All the other voices of the world can’t save us by taking our sins and giving us righteousness. His is a unique voice-the VOICE OF CHRISTMAS.
The Voice of Christmas is God’s Good News to man. The Voice of Christmas is the eternal coming to earth to make us live with Him in eternity. The Voice of Christmas is calling you to listen to Him and rejoice as you prepare to kneel at the foot of the manger, for there in you will know peace–peace that is heaven-made for the world.
My prayers for you during this Advent and Christmas Season, is by the Spirit’s power to listen to the Voice of Christmas–the Voice of Jesus as He calls you a sinner to be saints through Him.
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ONE AND ALL.
In Christ’s love and in His service,
Rev. Nabil S. Nour Pastor and Foot Washer Phil. 1:6