Thursday, April 17, 2014

Child of the manger

On the church liturgical calendar tonight is Maundy Thursday. The name "Maundy Thursday" is derived from the Latin word “mandatum” meaning "commandment." It is the Thursday before Easter, observed in the Christian Church as a commemoration of the Last Supper. But history lesson aside, while I was driving home I happened to flip on my CD player to see if there was a disc in there. Low and behold the last CD I was listening to was the Simple Truth Christmas CD “Child of the Manger.”  It happened that the song coming on was the title cut, and that got me thinking once again about the angels and their thoughts regarding the next four days.  So here is a summary of my thoughts and reflections, my Easter devotion so to speak.

The Angels, here was the group who sang Messiah’s birth 33 years earlier to a group of lowly shepherds on the plains of Bethlehem, standing powerless as they watched Jesus, Son of God, sorrowful to the point of bleeding sweat in the garden, betrayed by one of his close friends, beaten beyond recognition and hung on a cross to die. “Glory to God in the highest, peace, goodwill toward men” was their song of praise to the God of the Universe, creator of all things, who had become flesh to dwell among his creations, but there was no peace or goodwill at this time; heaven was silent as the angels stood in sorrow, gazing down on Calvary powerless to intervene.  All it would have taken was a word from Jesus and all heaven and earth would have been moved for this one man, but He didn't speak. There is an old hymn, which I want to share the refrain of:

He could have called ten thousand angels.
To destroy the world and set Him free.
He could have called ten thousand angels,
 But He died alone, for you and me. (Ray Overholt, 1958)

However, we all know that was not the end…..

Early in the morning, on the first day of the week, the angel rolled the stone away and then he turned to speak. “Why seek the living out among the dead? For the child of the manger has broken the bonds of hell.” (“Child of the Manger”, Simple Truth)

When Jesus rose from the dead; triumphing over Hell and Death, I imagine the angels once again standing as they did on that winter’s night over Bethlehem, wing tip to wing tip praising GOD. Heaven was no longer silent. This Easter Sunday morning I would hope in the midst of all the chocolate bunnies, colored eggs, and baked ham we would stop and savor the Savior. We would with the angels honestly and with understanding sing “Glory to GOD in the highest, Peace, and Goodwill to men.”  For the child of the manger is the man (the risen, exalted LORD) of Calvary; happy Easter everyone for now and eternity.

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