This article is republished from the Dec. 19, 1931, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.
At this season of the year we commemorate the coming of Him for whom wise men waited and peasants longed. Born to Bethlehem and its stable, to poverty and unesteem, unknown to the great and the proud, but well known in the world of blessedness and light, was a babe, our Heavenly Father’s Son. In Him earth and heaven became united. Mary, the honored virgin, became the mother.
We do not understand the holy mystery, but with reverent hearts we bow to worship Him who is the brightness of the Father’s glory and the express image of His person.
Born at Bethlehem, the child was born to the workshop of labor. During 30 years He was to be known as the son of the carpenter. Thus His approval falls on honest toil. He is the Friend of toilers. He knows their weariness, their worries, and their wants.
Tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin, He is able to succor those who are tempted. If this year’s Christmas has not brought to you that for which you had hoped; if family needs and comforts are not met as you had desired, may His comfort and grace be yours.
To each of us life has its future. Many a thorn must pierce our hearts and make them bleed. Man is born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward. Before the innocent babe of Bethlehem lay a life of sorrow. The wilderness, with its loneliness and hunger, brought temptations wherein He was sorely tried. The captain enemy of man met Him there and sought His defeat, but from temptations He came strong in grace and declared His message of sympathy and love.
Were ever sweeter words than these which He had come to fulfill?
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18,19, KJV).
The child had grown in stature and in favor with God and with men. He is now the Man Christ Jesus, the tried Man upon whose shoulders government and authority had come. His message was that of cheer and hope for us. We need a friend on whom we can fully lean. That friend is Jesus.
As glorious as His triumph was in the wilderness, tests still greater lay before Him – Gethsemane with is bloody sweat, the seeming unconcern of those whom He loved, and finally His betrayal into the hands of sinful men. In Gethsemane He took the bitter cup filled to the full with the sorrows and sins of earth. The anguish which brought to His loving heart only He can ever know. Who can measure the meaning of those words, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death” (Matthew 26:38)?
Yet for our sake, in obedience to the will of the Father, He drank the cup to its bitter dregs. It was the cup that took Him to Calvary.
Born to suffer, His faithful heart surrendered its last beat upon the cross. “It is finished,” were His parting words. With Him all nature groaned. Such sorrows none other ever knew, sorrows all of which were for others. All the righteous requirements of the Law were met in Him; and since He died, the Just for the unjust, God has become the justifier of all they who believe in Him. Upon the cross He who was born at Bethlehem made perfect atonement for the sins of all the world.
God is reconciled. The empty tomb, the ascended Lord, the Holy Spirit coming in power, all tell us that He who was born at Bethlehem is now our Great High Priest who is passed into the heavens (Hebrews 4:14). Let us worship Him this Christmastime, rejoice in Him, see Him sitting at the right hand of the Majesty on high. Let us lay hold of His loving sympathy. In that He hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor those who are tempted. He is our Friend, our Savior, and our Advocate.
Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, heaven’s gift of love to suffering and sorrowing earth.
Written by Ernest S. Williams, who served as general superintendent of the Assemblies of God from 1929-49.