I’ve been blessed with a godly heritage from both sides of my family. I often joke that I inherited my knack for writing from my maternal grandfather, Luther Hutchens (we called him “granddaddy.”) Granddaddy was a lay preacher with a deep love for Jesus and a passion for spreading the gospel. He only had the formal equivalent of a 7th grade education, but he loved the Scriptures and also enjoyed writing devotional material and poetry–it just came naturally to him. He was born in 1900 and passed away in 1995. Here’s one of his Christmas devotionals:
Will Your Christmas Be Traditional or Scriptural?
We never tire of hearing the story of Christmas. No doubt the angels are still singing that heavenly chorus, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” As we study Matthew’s account in our Sunday School lesson, we will learn that the only thing traditional about the birth of Christ was that the wise men presented Christ with gifts. But you will notice that the gifts were presented to Christ, not his parents. So we see that exchanging gifts among our relatives is traditional, not scriptural. The Bible does not condemn giving gifts, but we should not give at the expense of Christ. Read Luke’s account of how the first Christmas was observed.
First I want to say that many of the Old Testament prophets had looked forward to this great event with great anticipation. Isaiah had spoken these words several hundred years before the birth of Christ:
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
The prophet Micah told the city where he would be born–Bethlehem.
I want to point out to you some of the scriptural ways mentioned in Luke that the first Christmas was observed.
*We notice the glory of heaven shone around the watchful shepherds.
*We hear angels shouting, “I bring you good tidings of great joy.”
*These good tidings were that a Savior was born.
*As these announcements were being made, a multitude of angels were praising God and singing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will toward men.”
*The shepherds went in hast and found the Christ child.
*The shepherds made known what they had learned about the Christ child.
*”The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all things that they had heard and seen.”
*I think it was left to old Simeon, a devout man of God, to express the real significance of this occasion. It had been revealed to him that he would not see death until he had seen the Christ child. When the Christ child was presented to him, he embraced him in his arms and said, “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation” (Luke 2:29-30).
*I think it is very significant to notice the only woman mentioned in this account, besides Mary, was Anna, who had not departed from the Temple, but who served God with fasting and prayer day and night. She gave thanks unto the Lord, and spoke of him to all who looked for redemption.
I think we would have to sum up this chapter as a time of great rejoicing. Heaven was rejoicing, and the angels were singing and praising God. The shepherds were rejoicing and praising God. Simeon rejoiced, and was ready to die in peace. Anna gave thanks, and told it to all.
Copied with permission from Luther Hutchens, Sr. The Man, His Life, His Message (Copyright 1986, Emily Taylor). I have taken the liberty of replacing KJV Bible quotations with the NIV.
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