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We look for the glory of the life of Jesus, in His manhood's years. Then He wrought great miracles, revealing His divine power. Then He spoke His wonderful words which have touched the world with their influence of blessing. Then He went about doing good, showing the love of God in all His common life, and on His Cross. We do not turn to the infancy of Jesus for supernatural revealings. The apocryphal Gospels have their stories of infant prodigies—but we do not accept these, and are careful to say that Jesus wrought no miracles and showed no revealings of deity—until He had been anointed with the Holy Spirit.
Yet in no portion of the life of Jesus Christ, is there really greater glory than in His birth. Nothing showed more love for sinners—than His condescending to be born. We should say that the heart of the gospel was the Cross—but the first act of redemption was the Incarnation, when the Son of God emptied Himself of His divine attributes and entered human life in all the feebleness and helplessness of infancy. In its revealing of love and grace, the cradle of Jesus is as marvelous as His Cross.
It is impossible to sum up the blessings of this holy infancy. Childhood everywhere is exalted by it. Something of the light of the manger shines now about every child's cradle. Wonderful has been the ministry even of the pictures of the infant Jesus. Where the story of the birth of Christ is known—the world becomes a safer place for all children; hearts are gentler and truer, and the air is sweeter where the Christmas message is told. Since Christ, the Son of God, was born the Son of Mary, all infancy is sacred in a sense.
We should learn to revere childhood. The home to which a baby has come, is a sacred place. The parents who fail to understand the blessing that has come to them in their little one, are missing a revelation as glorious as the burning bush, before which Moses was bidden to take off his shoes.
We wonder at the strange reception Jesus had in this world. We would have thought that He would be welcomed enthusiastically. But He came almost unobserved. Some lowly shepherds, learning through an angelic vision of what had happened, came in to see the wonderful Child. But that was all. The great event made no stir in Jerusalem. "His own received Him not."
But one day Jerusalem was startled by the coming of a delegation of wise men from the far East. They spoke of a King who had been born in the country of the Jews. Neither Herod nor the rulers had any thought of such an event in their midst. The world does not recognize its true royalty.
Tradition says they were kings who came. They certainly were thoughtful men—reverent, devout, sincere seekers after that which is good and true. They were men of character; they were also rich, for they came laden with treasures—gold, frankincense and myrrh. Yet they bowed down to this Child King, whom they found in lowly circumstances, giving Him highest honor, and laying their gifts at His feet. Even this incident, however, made no lasting impression.
The people were indifferent. None of them followed the Magi to worship their King. The only result was the tragedy of Bethlehem—the slaying of the little children, in Herod's jealous plot to destroy the new-born King.
So it is always. Jesus divides men. Many turn from the glory of His life with indifference. They ignore Him. They laugh at the adoring of His friends and their faith in Him. They see no beauty in Him.
Yet always there are those who see in Jesus, the King of glory. They are drawn to Him in love, which becomes a very fire in their hearts. They stop at no cost or sacrifice in following and serving Him. They bring Him their best treasures—not money—but the gold, frankincense and myrrh of their hearts.
Christ never disappoints any who are drawn to Him in adoration and devotion. Visions of beauty and blessing in Him never fade out. Every hope in Him is realized. None who ever turn to Him in need and heart-hunger, will fail to be satisfied. Every promise that He gives, becomes a glorious reality to those who accept it.