Anglican Morning Devotion, 26 December 2021 Anno Domini,
a ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:1-2: King James Version)
Just over two thousand years ago, the world awoke to a new reality. After centuries of smothering spiritual darkness, a new day dawned upon a world that had walked and now sat, in darkness. Though everything seemed the same in its natural setting, in the great reality of Divine Promise, everything had changed. The world would never be the same.
The old world could have been compared to a dead body – still possessing eyes but see not; ears but hear not; a tongue which spoke not. But that body was dead. Christ came bearing the promise of life, and that more abundant. His Coming was the consummation of the Promise hinted to Mother Eve and more explicitly defined to Father Abraham. Abraham believed that giving of the Promised Seed by faith. Though imperfect in the flesh, Abraham’s faith never failed. Today, we of faith share in the fulfillment of that Promise. The Promise has become a reality and less faith required in believing in it the accomplished fact. Yet, many refuse to believe. Why?
Notice, I did not say incapable of believing, but REFUSE to believe. It is an open expression of rebellion to deny God the Father and His only Begotten Son, Jesus. In reality there are no true atheists. Every man, woman, and child are born into this world knowing there to be a Higher Being who created all that is. But to admit the reality of that fact requires an admission of a Sovereign Lord who rules in righteousness. The world dares not admit a Sovereign the acknowledgment of which would require the abstinence from sin and wickedness; so, mankind invents many amazing and ridiculous theories to deny that Sovereign exists. The mention of His very name is hateful to them. They fear not superstitions of black cats, many Hindu idols, the mention of ghosts or vampires; but the mention of the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (in whom they claim not to believe) drives them up the wall. If Christ does not truly exist, why the vitriol expressed at the mention of His name or the most blessed remembrance of His birth – Christmas? Why the censorship of even the most fundamentally righteous of the Law Code found in Holy Scripture?
Why do you suppose the posting of the Ten Commandments has been ruled to cause the child to ‘actually believe them’ as the courts have ruled. Is there something wrong about abstaining from murder, lying, stealing, adultery, etc.?
In the Faith of the English Reformation, we celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas. What a joy that the Spirit must be vanquished promptly on the 26th of December! Our lectionary is designed to cause us to observe the life of Christ and its course in the world beginning at Advent Season and Continuing through Trinity. The minister is not allowed to pick and choose his text from one worship day to another – he must adhere to the lectionary.
When I first began my ministry as a Deacon, I found the lectionary to be too restrictive. It would not allow me to preach from my favorite and best-known texts. But having been compelled to follow that course of study outlined in the Lectionary, I discovered that my favorite texts had become much larger. I grew in my knowledge of Scripture due to the natural unfolding of the events of the Gospel, Epistles, and those laws and prophecies of the Old Testament.
Though from my youth, I have failed to live up to the righteous and sinless standards of a Holy God, I never doubted His existence and His Lordship over me. I felt pangs of contrition when my thoughts and overt behavior conflicted with His Holy rule. Even my early days in elementary school confirmed the same faith I was taught at home. Unfortunately, the youth of our day no longer enjoy the benefit of a public education that confirms the faith of their parents or of the Godly heritage of a Divinely inspired national government.
Even as the secular media, political pawns, and humanist educators – and unfortunately, some church leaders – continue a constant attack on Christmas and its meaning, we must dispense with the commercialism and false idols associated with the day and return to a celebration of the coming Christ-Child and the love that event engenders. Not only should we restore the spiritual celebration of the event in the same way as that enjoyed by the shepherds of Bethlehem, but extend that spirit of love and good will to every date on the calendar throughout the year. Merry Christmas Continuing.