Thursday, August 1, 2013

When Love Was Born

We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19
Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." Matthew 22: 37

      It is remarkable that while the Scriptures give us a distinct recital of the infancy of Jesus and make no attempt to disguise the fact that he was an infant with the veritable helplessness incident to such condition, yet it is not the littleness of the babe that arrests the Scripture's attention, nor the meaningless frailty of the babe that those Scriptures underscore. Neither Mark nor John has anything to say of an infant Jesus, and the other evangelists treat his infancy only as an incident, and portray it in a way intended to draw the whole consciousness of the reader off from the mere boyish features of the situation and to center that consciousness upon the wonderfulness, the kindliness and divineness of the being who passed through the gateway of infancy only because that was the sole means of becoming perfectly man.
      The evangelists were not interested in Jesus because he was little, not drawn toward him in sympathy because he was helpless, but already dealt with him reverently because he was king and worshiped him because he was Christ, the Lord.
      No stringed instrument, was ever constructed in such perfection that it would not flat by use, and, however much we may say of that still finer instrument we call the human conscience, that, too, flats by use. It is forever sagging below the key to which it is naturally pitched, and requiring the Christmas love and awakening to stiffen it up again. We learn during the year to do wrong without feeling the wrong of it, and that means that our deeds are likely to determine our conscience rather more than our conscience to determine our deeds. Men never trust their watches when they are out of order, and do not even take care to celebrate Christmas in the Christlike sense in order that they may set their consciences right again.
      There is a great deal of love in the world, and its amount is increased by the tokens which it annually makes of itself, exactly as river beds are deepened by the very currents which slip over them and plow their way through them. But just as it is a fact that in the middle of the day we forget the sun because the light which it sheds fills the world so full of brightness as to chase from our minds thoughts of the sun itself that the brightness springs from, so are Christmas days crowded with the interchange of love tokens that it is surprisingly easy, right at Christmas, to forget him whose presence in the world for eighteen hundred years has done so much to soften human hearts. My message on this Christmas, so near to the end of the century, is to remember Jesus even at this season as the Christ and King and not as the Bethlehem infant, to key our consciences each recurring Christmas and oftener by his precepts, and not to forget, least of all at Christmas time, to try to foster a love for one who first of all loved us. Dr. Charles H. Parkhurst, Reformer, 1898

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