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December 26, 2020

“Dan and Tom recall fond childhood memories of their Christmas experiences, from Dan’s father’s great “puppy surprise” to Tom’s mistaking hi-rise blinking red light for Rudolph! However, the emotional highs (and subsequent lows) of the secular Christmas pale in comparison with the deep and profound joy of the Incarnation–of the inbreaking of God’s kingdom on Earth–that the prophets of ancient Israel foretold. Indeed, this joy prompted many transcendent hymns, from the 4 ancient songs in Luke’s Gospel (“Magnificat”, “Benedictus”, “Gloria” and”Nunc Dimittis” to the great compositions of the Baroque, Classical and Romantic periods (Bach’s “Christmas Oratorio” and Handel’s “Messiah”) to the ethereal “Silent Night” (and Dan’s surprise and bare rendition of this hymn with his harmonica!) MERRY CHRISTMAS!

But why the joy from this infant? After all, many in Israel hoped for a king to overthrow the Romans and thereby free Israel. It is because His birth into humanity revealed a love and mercy unknown up until then, qualities that would be made manifest by his death for our eternal life and the fulfillment of God’s plan for our salvation.