Only God ever had the idea of making a Christmas. No man would have thought of such a thing. Small wonder the idea has captured the imagination of the world, or that the nations turn aside every year to see the Baby in the tavern keeper’s cattlebarn.

What a way for God to invade our world! No royal proclamation, no fuss! It was all done so quietly! Yet, once you have the picture, you can’t forget it. A King, yes, a Redeemer, born in a cowshed! How could we help coming, as did the Magi, to visit this baby whose birth meant that the calendar was to be changed?

So, every year, we light our trees, sing carols, give gifts, and cry, “Merry Christmas!” And well we should; for it is Jesus’ birthday. However, we might ask ourselves, in the midst of our celebration, what will happen when Christmas is over.

Something did happen after that first Christmas, you know. Jesus didn’t stay in that manger. He left it. He went to Nazareth. “The child grew” states the record. He became a man. He took his gospel to the people. He healed the sick, lifted the fallen. He was flung on a cross. He rose from the dead. He sent his Spirit to the Church.

So much happened after that cattleshed experience!

Perhaps far too many folk in the church have a Christmas religion! It is full of music and poetry; it is a fine emotional thing—but it never gets Christ out of the cowbarn!

Despite all our sentimental singing during the Yuletide, the fact remains that Jesus couldn’t have done very much for the world if he had stayed a baby! Babies are wonderful, they bring us happiness; but they aren’t very helpful in building things or in tilling soil or in running hospitals.

Jesus, as a baby, couldn’t have given us the Sermon on the Mount. He couldn’t have lived his mighty ...

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