We always experience a vicarious thrill when we read of a difficult and successful rescue operation—of men in an open boat at sea, of miners trapped deep underground, of a mountain climber dangling by a rope, or a child in a well. How much greater the thrill and thanksgiving on the part of the rescued ones themselves, those who had felt the nearness of death.

The greatest rescue operation of the ages began on the first Christmas so long ago. Its real significance has been obscured by man-made interpretations and by the secularization and commercialization of a world ignorant of or indifferent to the event.

The first advent must be seen in terms of God’s love and man’s predicament. This was not a gesture of sentiment. It was not a demonstration of humanitarian concern. It was an actual rescue, God’s intervention in human history to save a sinning and lost humanity.

This intervention must be seen in its totality. True, at Christmas we celebrate the human birthday of the Son of God; but this was only one phase of the amazing act of divine love. As Jesus grew to manhood, he demonstrated his complete humanity, and at the same time his miraculous and supernatural powers testified of his deity. Later came his atoning death on the cross and his resurrection, followed by his ascension and his promise to return. All these aspects should be recognized in our celebration of Christmas.

God’s loving provision for the redemption of man is like a many-faceted gem. We find that Christmas means much more to us as we consider it in all its amazing detail.

First, we might say that there is involved an act of interposition. God, in the person of his Son, interposed himself between the penitent sinner and judgment. I have a friend who, while traveling ...

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