There is something special about it when the Christmas season rolls around. The darkness of Halloween is past, Thanksgiving festivities are over, and now comes a season with a totally different flavor. And even though in the northern hemisphere the leaves are pretty much gone everywhere, the days are short and weather cold, there can be a magicalness about this season when we celebrate our Savior’s birth. As one secular song puts it, “It’s a Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”
Lights, decorations, music, snug homes, good food, presents, and love of family all contribute to the sense of specialness about this time of year. But with that, it is edifying to consider the events surrounding His coming and the seemingly random group of people to whom it was evident that something big was in the works.
I have pondered Peter’s words, where in regard to Christ’s glory he stated that he was not following some cunningly devised fairy tale (2 Peter 1:16). He had personally experienced the power and majesty of his Lord. Speaking of his experience on the mount of Transfiguration he rightfully proclaims that he was an eyewitness of the power and majesty of the One shrouded in the form of a man, but who was much more than a man.
There were others who were also eyewitnesses, with a clear record of their experiences. There were the prophets of old who looked into the dim future and by the Spirit saw something glorious and bright on the horizon. There were the wise men of the east who were seized by an overpowering conviction that the God of all creation was up to something of enormous meaning that they were allowed to glimpse. Luke 2 speaks of the seemingly random encounters of elderly Anna and Simeon with the child Jesus and the great thankfulness and rejoicing that they experienced as they sensed the unfolding of the mighty plan of God. And we remember the shepherds in the field and their encounter with the angelic host making joyful proclamation. I dare say those fellows never forgot that encounter!
Later on, the disciples and other followers witnessed the mighty demonstrations that something other worldly was at work in Jesus. Forgiveness of sin, healing of bodies, multiplied food, the stilling of the storm, and the mastery of demonic spirits were the norm around the Lord. It would probably be an understatement to say that they were stunned by much of what they observed, but Peter correctly summed it up when he declared of Jesus, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
The Apostle John, early in his Gospel, declared, “We beheld His glory.” Later, he stated that he had written in order that his readers would be helped to believe on the One that he wrote of. And how helpful to us are the words of Jesus after setting Thomas straight, “Blessed are those who have not seen, yet have believed.” How wonderful the winsomeness of John’s words in conveying the message.
The eyes of faith can look beyond present tensions, exulting in the “wonders of His love,” and with the prophets, keep peering ahead through the gloom at more good things to come! So as we ponder the reason for the season, though we may never experience an eyewitness encounter, may we, too, be able to say, “We Beheld His Glory”!
Happy Sabbath to all.