THE EPISTLE Hebrews i. 112
GOD, who at sundry times and in
divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; who being the
brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; being made
so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will
be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? And again, when he bringeth in the first-begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his
angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and
hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of
thine hands: they shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not
THE GOSPEL St. John i. 1–14
IN the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the
light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men
through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made
by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were
born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will or man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full
of grace and truth.
Here Christ was Born
TRADITION makes the Saviour’s birth a time of universal peace. The
temple of Janus was closed. The Roman legions pushed not on to foreign conquest. Throughout the empire the din of war had ceased. No storm or tempest raged. The starlit heavens bent close to earth, as if to
share the gladness of the world.
In the imperial capital were the revels and orgies of the Saturnalia, the feasting and entertainments of the brilliant pageants of the court. Not in the palace of the
Palatine, nor by the mighty, nor the proud, nor the wise, was heard the Christmas message. It was humble shepherds in the still watches of the night who caught the sound of angels singing:
“Peace on earth to men of good will!”
And so to-day for those alone who have the love, the joy, which are made the conditions of the heavenly proclamation, has Christmas a vital significance. The lesson of the
holy day is self-giving. That surely was the central truth twenty centuries ago, when God gave His divinest gift in the Child of Bethlehem, and down through the years He has claimed as our highest privilege and duty
the service of our lives. Help to the needy, sympathy for the distressed, uplifting of the degraded, bring a Christmas joy transcending the vying of friends in the exchange of costly presents.
What a meaning to Christmas if we can say, “Here in our soul Christ is born to-day.” May Christmas be to us the birth of the soul’s life, which
shall grow more and more into the likeness of the divine.
But the vital thought of Christmas is something more than the historical Christ, something more than the theologic Christ; it is the personal Christ born in the hearts of
This brings rest amid unrest, joy amid sorrow, hope amid despair.
Christmas is more than Christmas greetings, and the exchange of happy gifts, the reunion of the near and dear under the roof of the old home, more than Christmas collects,
more than Christmas anthems, more than Christmas sermons, more than white vestments of joy.
Christmas is the birth of Jesus in our souls, the birth of the Christ of love, of the Christ of purity, of the Christ of truth, of the Christ of gentleness, of the Christ
of forgiveness, of the Christ of beauty.
The Christmas lesson is God’s supreme gift, the gift of Himself.
The world does not so much need the giving of our money or our sympathy as it needs and asks for the giving of ourselves, our life.
by Herbert Cusing Tolman. Edited. From the Christi Imago.
Thoughts for the Sundays in the Christian Year.1915.