Twas The Night Before Christmas…

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Chapel Service

 

NASCAR Touring Awards Gala

NASCAR Hall of Fame

Charlotte, NC

December 12, 2014

 

“Twas The Night Before Christmas…”

 “Twas the Night Before Christmas, when all through the house; not a creature was stirring; not even a mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there…”

We traditionally read this poem written in 1822 by Clement Clark Moore* (1799 – 1863) to our kids and families every year and yes, I treasure it also, but how would you like to hear another version? Mine.(See note on website for my resources)

It was the night before Christmas and a beautiful young girl had been traveling with a very devoted carpenter back to that carpenter’s home town. Now this carpenter served God with all his heart and he loved this beautiful young girl a ton. He had proved that to her back home in a number of ways.

Now, the beautiful young girl was about to have a baby and that devoted carpenter was her new husband. She had been riding on the back of a donkey over the rough, hilly roads for three days and three nights. By this time she was so tired, exhausted, and painfully uncomfortable as a pregnant girl could possibly be, so that she could barely hold her head up any more.

While she might be exhausted it was also refreshing to be away from her home town as she had endured terrible prejudice and abuse back there because of her pregnancy which everyone suspected as illegitimate and worthy of even death in her society. But this highly devoted carpenter stood by her and protected her which brought her much peace.

Finally they reached the devoted carpenter’s home town only to find that there was no place to stay. All accommodations were taken. You see, at this time there wasn’t a Holiday Inn or any other brand of hotel on every corner. But the devoted carpenter remembered a place where the animals stayed from his childhood days growing up. Surely he thought; it would still be there and smiled to himself and then encouraged this beautiful, exhausted young girl.

It wasn’t clean. After all, …it wasn’t even made for people, but it was the only choice they had. So the devoted carpenter took his beautiful young pregnant girl inside and made her a soft place in the hay right next to a mother goat and her three little babies, a sheep with two babies, a pig with four, a horse with one baby colt, plus a cow with one calf just trying to learn to stand up.

With all these crying babies it sure was not quiet; and certainly nothing like a living room with stockings hung by the fireplace chimney today. It was hard to even find a nail to hang anything upon. While the beautiful young girl laid there resting …and without visions of sugar-plumbs dancing in her head… in the soft but prickly hay attempting to settle both their brains for a long winter night’s nap. It wasn’t long before there arose such a clatter when she knew it was time for the baby to come. Her baby was about to be born right there; right in that same place that the animals stayed and the devoted carpenter sprang from his bed of hay to see what was the matter with his beautiful young wife.

Not far from them some sheep herders were working in the fields making sure their flocks were kept safe not only from wandering off, but also from the wolves so that they could all leave for new and greener pasture when the morning light came. The shepherds sat watch on the hillsides listening to the silence of the surrounding countryside and watching the stars, when all at once they were almost knocked over by what they saw!

It was a great Angel standing right in front them shinning so bright that they almost had to look away; but they just couldn’t. While the moon on the new fallen snow and the Angel’s presence gave the luster of noonday to objects everywhere; Chills ran down the shepherd spines when the great Angel began to speak! The great Angel said “Don’t be afraid because I am here to tell you something absolutely amazing. Right now, not far from here, at this very moment, God has come down to earth for a visit.”

The sheepherders couldn’t believe their wondering eyes and ears. The very One who made the universe and everything in it came down here? The great Angel said “Yes; and unbelievable as it seems to you; tonight, God is a baby. He is lying not far from here in an animal trough where the animals stay. And He has come here to give everyone in the world a gift. The world will never be the same again.” As the great Angel spoke, the sky was suddenly filled with multitudes of great Angels; far too many for the sheep herders to count. And they were so bright that it looked like the moon had exploded! Immediately the angels were all praising God by singing, shouting, and proclaiming His glory like a gigantic rock concert in the sky. They sang and praised with the volume turned all the way up! Never before had there been such great and wonderful song and praise on earth!

“It’s time to celebrate because God has come to earth for a visit for God can do anything He chooses and after tonight the world will never be the same again.”

Back in the devoted carpenter’s home town the baby who was God that came to the earth for a visit lay fast asleep in the beautiful young girls arms. He was dressed in torn rags from His head to His foot tarnished with ashes and soot. The cows and other animals silently watched him sleep. The doves in the rafters whom He had covered with feathers so they could fly watched Him sleep. And the donkey He made watched Him sleep. Sitting close bye the devoted carpenter watched Him sleep as he wiped the beads of sweat from his beautiful young bride’s cheek. As the carpenter quietly, and lovingly did this to his beautiful young wife with a wink of his eye to her he said “the world will never be the same again because God had come down for a visit and now we can know that the world has nothing to dread. So, Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night!”

Today you can read the Gospel account of this story as it is written in The Gospel of Luke, Chapter 2 of course, however you need to take note and understand the world’s entire history preceding this event.  

That is revealed clearly in the Gospel of John, Chapter 1: verse 1-5:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was also fully God.

The Word was with God in the beginning.

All things were created into being through Him, and apart from Him not one single thing was created that has come into being.

In Him was life, and the life was the Light of all mankind.

The Light shines on in the darkness, but the darkness did not comprehend it nor has it mastered it.”   (GBB)

Verse 9-14:

“There was the true Light which enlightens every person was coming into the world.

He was in the world, and the world was created by Him and through Him, however the world did not know or recognize Him.

He came down to be with what was His own, but His own people did not receive or recognize Him.

But to as many that received Him, – those who believe in His name – He gave the right to become the children of God –children not born by human parents blood, nor the will of the flesh, or the will of a husband, but by God.

And the Word became flesh, and took up residence by dwelling among us.   We saw His Glory, the glory of the one and only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”   (GBB)

Today Nativity scenes are nothing more than a symbol of that event in history. And a symbol, story, image, or tradition serves no purpose if it doesn’t stir anyone to remember the thing it represents. How many times I have watched or heard about organizations forcing removal of symbols like these. In their thinking they are protecting the freedoms of the weak and protecting the poor and weak from anything being forced upon them by being a voice for anyone that doesn’t have a voice. Those are the very principles that are the heart of God and they’re the truest meaning of Christmas! You see, God never wanted to force His Son on anyone either. Hey, He’s God. He could have compelled everyone in the world to bow down and worship His Son. But, He didn’t. He could have filled the world with lightning and thunder and blazing chariots to announce a new Kings arrival; but He didn’t. He could have assembled the richest and most powerful people on earth to witness His new King’s coronation; but He didn’t. Like I said, God never wanted to force His Son upon anyone. It’s just not the way He does things. That is why the first Christmas was the way it was was. He chose a poor and young, beautiful little girl from a tiny village to give birth to the new King. In her culture she had no “rights, no voice.” He chose a stable instead of a palace for the new King’s birth. Common laborers who were despised by the day’s society were the first witnesses. When God came to earth He came to the least, and the last, the lowest and the lost. These people who witnessed the birth of the King never owned a home, or held a political office, and never made a grab for power.

Today, this simple Man from a small town and a poor mother is still considered a person of interest right here today over two thousand years later. And why is that? It’s not because He forced people to choose Him. It’s because for centuries men and women have been seeking God. And they found Him in this Man. But what’s remarkable is that while they were seeking God, they found that He had been looking for them their whole lives! So that is what happened on that first Christmas more than two thousand years ago. God came to earth looking for you and me. And He came in the form of a man who showed the whole world what God’s love is like. So on that first Christmas God’s perfect Gift was love. If you take the love out of Christmas where will you put it? What will you do with it? What will you do with Him if you remove Him from this season? …or, any other?

The thing that fills people’s hearts usually starts to show up everywhere around them. That’s why at this time of year you see evergreens, and lights, and stars…and Nativity Scenes. It’s because they remind people of the love that came looking for them so long ago.

* Note: You might be interested to know that Moore’s father Benjamin Moore was the Bishop of New York who was famous for officiating at the inauguration of George Washington.

 

Have a safe and wonderful Christmas and New Year 2015

 

Bibliography:

  • “Twas The Night Before Christmas” A poem written in 1822 by Clement Clark Moore

– Also called: “A Visit From St. Nicholas”

  • Jefferson Moore – from his story & film “The Perfect Gift” (2009)
  • My own writing and wording between ideas from these above and scripture in my own words – 2014

– The Gospel By Bob – (GBB version)

2014-12-11T17:41:57+00:00