by Philip Layton
The birth of Jesus, the visit of the shepherds and his presentation at the Temple
- How old would Jesus have been when presented at the Temple?
- Why did Mary and Joseph present the offering of the poor (Leviticus 12:8) when the wise men brought gold (Matthew 2:11)?
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Going Deeper – from 'Words of Life'
The heavenly chorus proclaimed peace for the world. What a wonderful
Christmas gift from God! Peace with the Creator, peace with one another, peace within ourselves. This is what Edmund Sears wanted to emphasise in his Christmas carol:
It came upon the midnight clear, that glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth To touch their harps of gold;
Peace on the earth, goodwill to men, From Heaven’s all-gracious King!
The world in solemn stillness lay To hear the angels sing.
(SASB 83 v 1)
The second verse goes on to stress the social aspects of the angels' message – to spread peace and goodwill to others, especially those experiencing difficulties. Christmas is not just about us being blessed. It’s about sharing God’s love with others. Being there for those in need. As a church and as individuals within our church.
Then, the final verse looks forward with great optimism to a time when all the world will be at peace. When all people will be able to claim the peace the angels sang about so many years ago:
For lo! the days are hastening on, By prophet bards foretold,
When with the ever-circling years Comes round the age of gold,
When peace shall over all the earth Its ancient splendours fling,
And the whole world give back the song Which now the angels sing.
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