As a treasured family tradition, we would keep baby Jesus out of the manger until Christmas morning. Than one of the children would be privileged with placing him, front and center, on Christmas morning after the Story of Jesus was read. I carried on the tradition with my own three children. But now they are all grown up and I was still doing the same thing on my own, with my husband and youngest son, who is still with us at home.
But this year is different. I want, no I NEED, Jesus in the Manger all Season long. My favorite Christmas Carol is O Holy Night. When I sing that Carol, my whole heart is engaged. Let’s look at the Words to this treasured carol.
O Holy Night, the stars are brightly shining.
It is the Night of our Dear Savior’s Birth
Long lay the world in Sin and error pining,
Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of Hope, the Weary world rejoices,
for yonder breaks a new and glorious Morn.
Fall on your knees, O hear the Angel voices, O Night Divine
O Night when Christ was born, O night Divine, O Night, O Night Divine.
The most beloved line for me I have set in bold print. How long must we lay in our sin and error, pining away, wasting away? Jesus’ love received into our hearts will change it all. His love rises like a New Dawn within us, and our souls finally see the worth we have in the Eyes of God. Eyes that knew before the foundation of the world that we would cost him so dearly, but He created us anyway. Now that is a Love, so pure, so Magnificent, my heart cries out in joy at the mere mention of the name Jesus.
Here is a quote about the Beloved Hymn, written originally in French:
Legend has it that on Christmas Eve 1871, in the midst of fierce fighting between the armies of Germany and France, during the Franco-Prussian War, a French soldier suddenly jumped out of his muddy trench. Both sides stared at the seemingly crazed man. Boldly standing with no weapon in his hand or at his side, he lifted his eyes to the heavens and sang, (O Holy Night, in French) “Minuit, Chretiens, c’est l’heure solennelle ou L’Homme Dieu descendit jusqu’a nous,” the beginning of “Cantique de Noel. After completing all three verses, a German infantryman climbed out his hiding place and answered with, “Vom Himmel noch, da komm’ ich her. Ich bring’ euch gute neue Mar, Der guten Mar bring’ ich so viel, Davon ich sing’n und sagen will,” the beginning of Martin Luther’s robust “From Heaven Above to Earth I Come.”
The story goes that the fighting stopped for the next twenty-four hours while the men on both sides observed a temporary peace in honor of Christmas day. Perhaps this story had a part in the French church once again embracing “Cantique de Noel” in holiday services. Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/Entertainment/Movies/The-Nativity-Story/The-Amazing-Story-Of-O-Holy-Night.
The power of Jesus’ Love knows no bounds except the ones we ourselves place upon it. The Gospel can never be forced into the heart of a Believer. It must be received willingly and freely. But once the Truth of Christ’s love is within the heart, when yielded to, a person begins the precious and wonderful transformation from a “Me” centered life, to a “He (Jesus)” centered life. No greater transformation can ever be had by anyone. If you have not received This Great Love of God, I invite you to come to Jesus today, and let your soul finally feel its worth. Yes, I want Jesus in the Manger all Season long, and in my heart forever.