Amid all the Christmas trees and tinsel and gifts and holiday festivities, let us not forget that today we celebrate Somebody’s birthday, Somebody whose birthday is always remembered even after more than 2,000 years.
So let’s take a couple of moments to recall the beautiful story of His birth, as told long ago by St. Luke:
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
May the peace of the Lord be with you this Christmas as we remember the reason for this joyful time of year.
The most important Christmas since the Birth of Christ was the Christmas of 1776. That’s the day a courageous, risk-taking General George Washington turned the tide of the American Revolution by his famous crossing of the Delaware River. Many of his 5,000 soldiers were so thinly clad as to be unfit for fighting. Some soldiers had no shoes, just old rags tied around their feet. Most enlistments were due to expire the first of the year. Washington wrote to his nephew that December: “Your imagination can scarce extend to a situation more distressing than mine.”
Washington developed a plan for his men to cross the Delaware River on Christmas night and attack the Hessian mercenaries who occupied Trenton, New Jersey. His plan risked everything. If it failed, the dream of American independence would die in Trenton.At dark, the American troops started to board the boats for the crossing. The night was cold and raw. Washington reached the Jersey side at 3 a.m. The storm was in full fury, with sleet cutting like a knife. The troops with Washington made contact with the Hessians at 8 o’clockin the morning. In an hour of ferocious combat, against all odds, the Americans defeated the well-trained, well-fed, and well-rested Hessians. About 9 a.m., the Hessians surrendered. The Americans took 948 prisoners, including 32 officers and many horses and firearms. A British historian later wrote: “It may be doubted whether so small a number of men ever employed so short a space of time with greater or more lasting results upon the history of the world.”
Washington credited his victory to the Lord, writing this order to his troops: “The Providential goodness which we have experienced demand from us the warmest returns of gratitude and piety to the Supreme Author of all good.”