A White Christmas

Our flesh so quickly associates a snow cover with the celebration of Christmas, and then it gives the pre-eminence to the incidental and loses the essential. The white snow on the ground becomes in our thinking essential as a part of Christmas. Its absence detracts from the significance of the holiday for us, even though it has absolutely nothing to do with the true meaning of Christmas. 

Even then in these areas where snow is so common in December, the holiday is by no means a white Christmas in many respects. In fact it is a most colorful, if not indeed the most colorful of all the holidays. Christmas trees are strung with colored lights here and also in the South. Buildings have their outlines set off with colored lights that shine brilliantly in the cold air, and blink on and off in patterns of color and design. The use of red and green is everywhere to be seen for decorative purposes. It is called the season to be gay. Colorful greetings cards are mailed in staggering numbers and volume. Tinsel and the holly and the ivy are used in abundance to give a little more color to the holiday.

One almost feels ashamed to speak of that drab picture there on the Judean hillside with colorless sheep and even less colorful shepherds, to say nothing of that drab, dull, foul, ill-smelling, wholly undecorated grotto where among donkeys and camels the Christ-child made his appearance in our world. There were no beautiful, colorful wrappings and ribbons containing a gift for him. All was commonplace and dull. All lacked the luster that we now try to bring into the picture, not in his fear but in the satisfaction of the flesh.

God's color was there. There was the bright light of the angel of the Lord, and a few moments later that of a host of these pure, white creatures from heaven. There was the colorful message, that at the same time shown with white brilliancy, "Fear not: for, behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." In the darkness of our night of sin the light shone so brightly in those words. For us, who are so black with sin, this was a truth of brilliant whiteness which gives such wonderful significance to Christmas unto us. And the shepherds, who were white with fright, were suddenly engulfed with another heavenly message of glory to God in the highest, and they saw a white flag of peace on earth to the men of God's good pleasure waved before their eyes.

The message was one of peace. The white flag which the angels waved before these shepherds, and through them before our eyes, was not a flag of surrender. It was the white flag of victory. Do we not read in Revelation 6 of the white horse, and that he that sat on it went forth conquering and to conquer? White stands there for victory. And do we not again read in Revelation 19 that he who sat on this white horse is called "Faithful and true, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war?" A verse later we read that his name is "The Word of God." In that light also we must read Revelation 2:17, where we are told that "to him that overcometh" this babe of Bethlehem, who now is the Lord of Lords and King of kings, will give "to eat of the hidden manna" and "a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it." This does not mean that we receive a name of those who surrender. It means that we receive the name of victor, through him who rides this white horse that symbolizes victory, and that we shall sit and reign with him because he goes forth conquering and to conquer. 

May God grant you a white Christmas of victory in Christ. And may he take from you the scarlet color of your sins.

_________________

This excerpt was taken from a meditation written by Rev. John Heys printed in the December 15, 1970 issue of the Standard BearerRead the full article.

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The Prince of Peace

The Prince of Peace!

Wonderful!

Magic name in a world of woe and turmoil!

Wonderful name, indeed, in a world torn by war, bleeding from a thousand wounds: The Prince of Peace!

Small wonder that even they who know Him not and understand nothing of the peace He came to bring are spellbound by the charm and magic of that name, and every Christmas season speak of Him and sing the praises of what they conceive to be the Prince of Peace! They catch the exquisitely soothing music of the name and they taste the heavenly gift wrapped up in that name, and the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, a world of righteousness and peace.

Seeing they see; hearing they hear.

Yet they do not perceive; still they fail to understand.

They use the name; they reject Him! Their rock is not our Rock; their Prince of Peace is not the Christ of the Scriptures.

He, the Prince of Peace, is characterized by peace in all His appearance, mission, work, and dominion. To establish peace He came into the world. To rule in peace forever He labors and toils and battles and suffers and goes down into the nethermost parts of the earth. For, peace He came to establish, peace indeed. Not the superficial peace that is created by conferences or courts of men, by treaties that are signed, by pacts that are sealed and that are broken by them that make them; but true, real, essential peace He came to create. Quite impossible it is, indeed, to bring peace in the relationships between men and nations, where there is no peace in the heart; and quite hopeless is the expectation of peace in men's hearts, as long as there is no peace with God! 

The futility of the attempt to establish peace where there is no peace the world has demonstrated in late years more clearly than ever before. For peace they longed, and war was dreaded. Of peace they spoke in speech and song and discussion around conference tables. Peace palaces were built. Peace conferences were held. Disarmament agreements were attempted. Peace treaties were signed. A league of nations was established. Yet, there was never a time in which the world was so full of greed, hatred, distrust, and war, as our own. They speak of peace, peace, where there is no peace!

Peace is a profound spiritual reality!

It is a matter of the heart. It presupposes and is rooted in love, the love of one another! The love of one another is rooted in the love of God! The love of God is love of God! And herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us!

Therefore, love is also righteousness, holiness, truth.

Without these there is no love—no love of God to us, no love of us to God, no love of one another. And without this love there is no peace—no peace with God, no peace in God toward us, no peace of us toward God, no peace between man and man, between group and group, between nation and nation. It is, and it must needs be, war!

There is no shortcut to peace!

The sole road hither is that of righteousness, truth, holiness, love, life.

That road He traveled, the Prince of Peace, the Captain of our salvation!

Peace He made, first of all, with God. Everlasting peace, on the basis of an everlasting righteousness. For, voluntarily, in the obedience of love, He placed Himself under the vials of God's wrath in the hour of judgment; obediently He descended into the deepest woe and agony of death and hell to satisfy the unchangeable justice of God, thus to open the way for peace on the basis of God's own terms: His righteousness! That peace He gives unto us. For the Prince of Peace who died to make peace was raised in peace, was glorified and exalted at the right hand of God to reign in peace and to overcome all the evil forces of war, and was given the Spirit to realize that peace in the hearts of all His own. By that Spirit He leads us into His kingdom of peace with God, assures us of our reconciliation with God through His blood, removes the enmity against God that is in our hearts by nature, pours out in us the love of God, and causes us to sing with joy: "We, therefore, being justified by faith, have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ!"

The Prince of Peace!

Through that peace with God we have peace with one another!

By nature we are war-makers. For we live in malice and envy and covetousness. We are filled with pride and hate one another. But when the Prince of Peace reigns in our hearts by His Spirit and grace, we become makers of peace, love one another, humble ourselves, forbear one another and forgive one another, even as God for Christ's sake forgave us!

And through Him we have peace with all things!

For, having peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, we even now are assured that all things are ours and we are His and He is God's, and that He who reconciled us with Himself through the death of His Son will surely cause all things to work together for our good.

And we look forward to the final kingdom of peace!

Then, in the new heavens and the new earth, in which righteousness shall dwell, God's tabernacle shall be spread over all!

The creature shall participate in the glorious liberty of the children of God!

And there shall be nothing that shall destroy in all God's holy mountain!

Blessed Prince of Peace!

______________

 

This Christmas meditation was written by Herman Hoeksema.

You can read the full meditation in the book The Mystery of Bethlehem or on the Standard Bearer archives.

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