The Birthday of the New World
From the day Jesus was born into this world, all things have had a new meaning.
Perhaps we do not often think of the real significance of the abbreviations A.D., which we put after the years when we note time. They tell us that the years in which we are living, and all the years that have passed since Jesus was born, are years of our Lord. They are the years of His stay in this world. The birth of Jesus was indeed a new beginning of time! From that day forward, there was something in this world that had never been in it before. It was not merely new teaching, although “no man ever spoke like this man,” and although His words have been seeds of blessing through all these centuries. It was not merely the life of a great man, like other men whose names have immortal honor, and whose influence is imperishable.
The birth of Jesus Christ was the coming of God Himself into this world! We all stand with uncovered head beside the manger in the little town of Bethlehem, for He Who sleeps His first sleep there is Emmanuel – “God with us!” That is why we write Anno Domini in all our dates. These are years of our Lord. No matter how much goodness, beauty, joy, and hope there may have been in the centuries before Jesus was born, it was indeed a new beginning of time when He came. We do well to reckon time from the birth of Jesus Christ; for in His incarnation, all the fullness of the Divine life was brought down among human beings.
For example, love was given a new meaning when Jesus came into this world. Of course, there was love before that time. Mothers loved their children. Friend loved friend. Some of the rarest friendships of history belong in the centuries before the beginning of the Christian era. But in His life, Jesus illustrated the love which reaches out beyond all lines of kinship and natural affection. “What do you do more than others?” was the test question which the Master put to His disciples. Anybody can love His friends, and be kind to those who are kind to him, and graciously greet those who greet him. Even the heathen loved each other in this way. But Jesus said, “I say unto you, Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” Forgiving injuries is not an expression of natural affection; but the love which Jesus taught prays, “Forgive us, as we forgive others.”
The ancient law said, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But’s Christ law of love does not require “as yourself,” but more than we love ourselves. We are to give our own life, if necessary, in love’s service. The parable of the Good Samaritan is our Lord’s own illustration of the way we are to love our neighbor. He may be an enemy; indeed, such was the case in the story. But the man who did us a cruel wrong yesterday, if we find him in need today, is our neighbor. The love that we are to show is not merely pity, but even help to the uttermost – whatever the cost may be.
But a lofty teaching was not all that Jesus brought to earth. People might have said that no one could live up to the standards which He gave, and that no one could fulfill the splendid ideals of His teaching. But Jesus lived up to His own standards, and He fulfilled every one of His own ideals. He did not merely bring into the world new interpretations of the duty of loving; rather, He brought love itself! Out of heaven came One Who Himself was the infinite and eternal Love. All the love that is in this world today, and all that has been here since Christ was born, was kindled from the one flame which burned in the heart of Jesus.
Not only was the very love of God brought to earth in the Incarnation of Jesus; but He also came to give that same love to others, and to put it into the heart of everyone Who believes on Him. It is not impossible for people, therefore, to attain the lofty standards of living which Jesus gave for His friends. He did not merely come to teach lessons, but also to give life – and to give it abundantly.
Everyone who touched Jesus carried away in his own heart a new warmth, which eventually transformed his life. Then everyone whose life was kindled at this flame of love, in turn, kindled other lives. So the work has gone on through all these centuries. Through all human strifes and contentions, and amidst cruelty and injustice and oppression, love has worked persistently and won its victories. Everyone who endures wrong patiently, or who keeps his heart sweet under harshness or insult, is helping in the triumph of love. Everyone who does a kind deed makes the wintry air a little warmer.
It is such deeds as these which are the truest interpretation of the love which had its earthly Incarnation on that night in Bethlehem. We can best prepare for the coming of the Kingdom of Christ in its full glory by letting love have its victories in us, over everything that might make us bitter or resentful. This love bears all things and endures all things, and it continually does the gentle deeds which comfort lonely hearts and relieve suffering and distress.
Our remembrance of the birth of Christ will be made sacred by love. We do not need to seek far for opportunities! All around us, there are many whose hearts we can warm, and whose lives we can inspire and enrich, simply by bringing the love of Jesus to them!
I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on this article! Feel free to leave your reflections and ask your questions below.
God bless you and your family, this day and always.
All for our King’s glory,
photo by Pearl | Lightstock.com
This post is another installment of Miller’s Monday Musings, a weekly series that is published every Monday on my website. The series features selected writings that have been adapted from the works of James Russell Miller (1840-1912), a much-beloved Christian author and pastor who is well-remembered for his practical thoughts on Christian home and family life. Learn more about this weekly series by clicking here.