A STAR . . . A SONG . . . A CHILD. . .
A STAR Said the night wind to the little lamb,
“Do you see what I see?”
A star, a star, shining in the night,
With a tail as big as a kite. With a tail as big as a kite.
A star led the Magi from the East, to find the Christ & worship Him. Astronomers today point to a rare conjunction of planets that appeared low on the horizon as an unusually bright star. This gives, for those who want it, a natural explanation of the Christmas Star – & we know that God did use natural circumstances to bring His good will to effect, & still does.
But the Bible leaves the whole phenomenon of the Christmas Star in the category of God’s supernatural intervention. It tells us that after their journey to Jerusalem, & after conferring with Herod, the Magi saw the star again. This time it went ahead of them to Bethlehem & stopped above the house where the Child was.
To see the Christmas Star as a special light, placed into the sky by God for a specific purpose, fits well with the nature of the event it was featuring. After all, the Christmas event is the most pointed expression of God’s not being just a distant Creator who’s left His creation to operate by itself under a system of natural laws.
Christmas says to us that the Creator is personally involved with His creation. It says that He even inserted Himself into the created world, into our human history, to become the Savior of sinful mankind. In that context, it’s not too difficult to think of God providing a special light in the sky to personally guide the Wise Men.
Our concern tonight, however, is not only a matter of “seeing stars” – not even this wondrous Star of Bethlehem. “Do you see what I see?” takes us beyond explanations of the event – to see the One whom prophecies from the past & prophecies about the future point to as
God’s own Star. He’s the Baby of Bethlehem, the One through whom the light of God’s truth & love beams down upon us. He’s the One whom Peter called “The Morning Star,” the one who, at the end of time, will rise in our hearts to usher in the eternal day of life with Him in heaven!
Do you see what I see? Do you see that Star? If not, let the night wind & the little lamb join the Word of God in showing Him to you this evening.
2 Peter 1:16-19 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power & coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For when He received honor & glory from God the Father, & the voice was borne to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with Him on the holy mountain. And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns & the Morning Star rises in your hearts. (ESV)
A SONG Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy,
“Do you hear what I hear?”
A song, a song, high above the trees,
With a voice as big as the sea. With a voice as big as the sea.
What would we do without music to express our deepest feelings? Like laughing together over some happy remembrance, as with clapping because of something that pleased us, like a hug expressing warmth & love – songs ring out to express our joy & our sadness, our convictions & our praise.
All around the world this Christmas Eve Christians are doing what we are doing – gathering in houses dedicated to God’s glory to sing the great Christmas hymns & carols. It’s the most natural thing in the world for us to do – for in doing this we are repeating what happened that 1st Christmas night.
And the angels’ song that night: “Glory to God in the highest, & on earth peace among those who have His good will.” (Luke 2:14) Their singing was an expression of praise to God for doing what only God would think of doing. The angels were more than just messengers of Good News. Their singing expressed wonder at the Creator’s great love for mankind. They could not imagine a love so great as to lead Him to reach out to sinful people like you & me to draw us back again into a living relationship with Him – & to do this by sending His own Son to become one of us, to be born in a manger, to live as our Brother; to suffer & die in our place as payment for your sins & for mine.
You see the holy angels have never experienced the wonder of being surprised by God’s gracious forgiveness. That wonderful experience is reserved for sinners like you & me. But Peter says that “the angels long to look into these things.” From their special vantage point, the holy angels recognized & appreciated the wonder of it all – & joyfully sang their songs of praise.
If the angels sang in praise to God for this amazing act of love, how much more should we, the recipients of its blessings, joyfully lift up our voices tonight!
The song of the angels was indeed a message: Peace on earth, “among those who have His good will.” It amplified what the angel had announced to the shepherds, & what the Bible still announces to us: “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
Do you hear what I hear? Do you hear the song? It says you are included in the salvation of our God. If you don’t hear it, let the little lamb & the shepherd boy join the Word of God in teaching it to you this evening. Then, believing & celebrating, you will join in singing praise to your Savior. And, with the angels, you’ll be happy to sing it also to others.
Luke 2:8-14 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, an angel of the Lord came upon them, & the glory of the Lord shone round about them: & they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, ‘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 Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, & singing, ‘Glory to God in the highest, & on earth peace among those who have His good will.’
A CHILD Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king,
“Do you know what I know?
A Child, a Child, shivers in the cold,
Let us bring Him silver & gold. Let us bring Him silver & gold.”
Said the king to the people everywhere,
“Listen to what I say!
The Child, the Child, sleeping in the night,
He will bring us goodness & light. He will bring us goodness & light.”
In the final analysis, “The Child is where it’s at.” Christmas really is just an X-mas, an unknown quantity, a holiday of purely humanistic celebrating, unless it centers in the Child.
Years ago the Episcopal Church placed an ad in the paper showing Santa Claus pointing to Jesus & asking, “Whose birthday is it, anyway?” Unfortunately, we too can get so involved with Santa Claus, & with other secular trappings of the season, that we may not even hear the question, much less try to answer it: “Whose birthday is it, anyway?”
The shepherd boy & the mighty king point you to the Child. They remind you that God’s gifts of goodness & light are wrapped up in the forgiveness & the acceptance that our heavenly Father freely gives to us in His Son.
They urge you to focus – & not just sentimentally on the Baby in the manger, but also on the Suffering Servant of the cross, the divinely ordained destiny that inevitably followed His humble birth as our Savior. They want you to know that if you don’t know Him as your Savior from sin, you are missing the point of His birth & of the entire Christmas celebration.
The shepherd boy & the mighty king understand that the only fitting response on our part is to bring Him silver & gold – as practical symbols of giving ourselves to Him in faith & love. Be sure to wrap yourself in the offerings you bring as your Christmas gift to Jesus. Invite Him again to flood your heart with His goodness & light.
Do you know what I know? Do you know the Child? He is the One who brings God’s peace & God’s direction to my life. In His grace He blesses what I do for Him; in His mercy He forgives what I do for myself; in His kindness, He forgets when I fail to do what He calls me to. Do you know that Child in your life? Is He your Lord & Savior? He’s no longer the cute little baby in a manger. He is now the grown-up Jesus, the Man who was rejected by His own people & crucified for your sin.
Do you know that Man personally? Do you talk with Him frequently? If not, let the shepherd boy & the mighty king – let me & all Christians who know & trust Him – join the Word of God in assuring you:
He will bring goodness & light into your everyday life. That goodness & light will continue into His eternal Kingdom. Do you know what I know? Do you know the Child?
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: & the government shall be upon His shoulder: & His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government & peace there shall be no end...” (Isaiah 9:6-7 KJV) Amen.
Copyright 1998, RLP
Pastor Dean R. Poellet