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The Sublime Christmas Evening

"The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, even as it was spoken unto them
(Luke 2:20).

December has arrived, and how quickly! A month that leads us to reflection, to taking stock, to frustration, to happy or sad recollections, to remorse or satisfaction, to hope or discouragement and so many other sentiments which another phase won in the calendar of life provides us with. It is its last page which is being turned over, often with melancholy and low spirits. But it is the month which marks the most important event in the history of humanity: the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, which the Christian world has agreed to call: CHRISTMAS.

The culminating moment of the celebration is the traditional CHRISTMAS EVENING, unfortunately not always the most sublime. The moment is used in an undignified manner for the satisfaction of hardly commendable personal and selfish appetites, sliding to immoral behaviour which reveals the terrible spiritual degradation of the human being.

How deplorable! What an affront to the wonderful manifestation of the Grace of God which occurred on the first SUBLIME CHRISTMAS EVENING! The great privilege to take part in it was of the humble shepherds in Bethlehem, who were "abiding in the field, and keeping watch by night over their flock”.

It was the Lord who prepared for them the SUBLIME CHRISTMAS EVENING! It was not they who prepared it, like many today do it, seeking in the preparations and in the participation to take into account only the satisfaction and the enchantment of the flesh and not of the spirit! To attend to the appeals of human nature, so affected by sinfulness, looking to the delicacies, the drinks, the sensuality of the coloured lights, the alegories, the decorations and the distributed gifts which sharpen the greed of unscrupulous merchants for exhorbitant profit, a night of vain, proud and selfish splendour, which alienates from Who is the main Person: Jesus Christ, the greatest blessing from God to fallen mankind, destitute of eternal Salvation, that His birth, proclaimed by the humble shepherds, on the SUBLIME CHRISTMAS EVENING can provide! There is a deplorable disparagement of the purpose of the celebration.

 What does the SUBLIME CHRISTMAS EVENING in Bethlehem show us?

  1. The Angel of the Lord bringing to men the most glorious and extraordinary message which has been given for men to hear: “THERE IS BORN TODAY IN THE CITY OF DAVID A SAVIOUR, WHICH IS CHRIST THE LORD”. This is the GOOD TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY which must, necessarily be heard on the evening of Christmas that it may be a SUBLIME CHRISTMAS EVENING. Without this message from the Lord there is no SUBLIME CHRISTMAS EVENING! May we have it in our SUBLIME CHRISTMAS EVENING.
  2.  "THE GLORY OF THE LORD SHONE ROUND ABOUT THEM”. Without the PRESENCE of the Lord, in His majestic GLORY, THERE IS NO SUBLIME CHRISTMAS EVENING. Let us revive again today this unique experience!
  3. Praise to God is the marking note of the sublimity of this incomparable evening! The shepherds not only were able to hear the praise of the multitude of the heavenly host, but they also united in praise to God with their enthusiastic and spiritual participation, for they glorified and praised God for all which they had heard and seen (verse 20). How SUBLIME is CHRISTMAS EVENING when we can hear the heavenly song joining itself to our praise to God! May it be like this in our SUBLIME CHRISTMAS EVENING.
  4. The witness of the shepherds was the frame of the SUBLIME CHRISTMAS EVENING: "they made known concerning the saying which was spoken to them about this child.” Their testimony lead those who heard it to wonder at the things which were spoken unto them by the shepherds. May our testimony in the SUBLIME NIGHT OF CHRISTMAS have the same spiritual efficiency!

With December another CHRISTMAS comes to us. Let us make of its commemorative evening a SUBLIME CHRISTMAS EVENING, feeling it in depth as the simple shepherds felt in the fields of Bethlehem.