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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...




The Gift

Compiled by Scott Harrup
Dec. 21, 2014

Editor’s note: For more than a century, the Pentecostal Evangel has faithfully proclaimed at Christmas the good news of the Savior’s birth. The following article, with only minor edits to establish continuity, offers the reader a snapshot of life-changing truth as penned by men and women who shared a common faith while living in different generations.

The present year is drawing to a close and the world all about us is entering in upon a time of festivity. Christmas is coming, and making presents one to another at Christmastime has become a time-honored custom. Persons who seem hard of heart and grasping, in their efforts to get for themselves, become softened somehow by the kindly spirit of Christmas-tide, and opening the storehouse of their material gain, they give gifts to others. The spirit of giving and receiving is in the air at Christmastime, and few escape its influence.

All this is but a reflection of the great spirit of love and sacrifice seen in God’s Gift to men. The world, outside of God’s true family in it, know but a little of the real spirit of giving, but they are affected by its presence and power so much that they continue year after year to foster a custom which reflects in some measure this spirit which is from God. Many are the kindly acts performed because it is Christmastime. Many are the gifts bestowed because it is Christmas. 1

But God’s greatest and best gift (His Son Jesus Christ) has been by the majority of mankind largely ignored, if not positively rejected. While many acknowledge Him as a wonderful teacher and great religious reformer and are commending His ethics and complimenting and eulogizing His person, they are denying His higher claims as Lord of all, and only insult Him by their offer of cold respect. He is not seeking for mere admirers among His creatures, but for true heart worship. 2

There is a wonderful lesson to be learned from the story of the angel Gabriel coming to the humble virgin of Nazareth. When Mary was told that a miracle without precedent would take place — “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35, KJV) — she did not quibble or question or doubt. She believed the message and with yielded will declared, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word” (v. 38).

Here is the secret of all blessing — believing the Word of God and yielding to the revealed will of God. This opens the way for God to do what He will within us, and for a repetition of this same miracle — the Christ of God being formed within us. And salvation is just this, “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). William Law once wrote, “A Christ not in us is a Christ not ours.” And being in us, He is and ever will be all we need. 3

Religion is the savior of no man. Only true faith in the person of Christ can bridge the gulf between a lost man and a God of love. Respect and proper reverence are due to all the channels through which God has sent light and help to a lost world. But to Him only belong worship, honor, power, might and dominion.

Volumes could be written of religious movements that have started in power and might; how they continued a space in the enjoyment of the divine presence, only to find themselves building upon a theory and erecting shrines to the worship of doctrines and dogmas. May the good Lord of heaven save us from these pitfalls and cause us to awaken and return to a humble place of repentance and prayer. 4

Many churches today are celebrating Christmas and speaking about the Babe of Bethlehem, but many of the singers and the speakers have never known this Jesus. There are ministers who preach about Jesus, and they too have never known this One of whom they speak. They may know a great deal about Him, but oh what a difference it makes to know Him! 5

In the name Jesus, (the Greek form of the Hebrew “Joshua,” meaning “God Saves”) the divine is combined with the human. A child born, “the seed of the woman” (Genesis 3:15), but the only begotten of the Father, Son of God and Son of Man — Jehovah our Salvation, our Divine-Human Savior. Christ, the perfect Man, anointed by the Father with the Holy Spirit to be our Messiah, our Life-giver, Healer, Deliverer, our Prophet, Priest and King.

How beautifully these words represent Him whom our souls love, the Lord Jesus Christ! Jesus is His name; Christ (Greek for the Hebrew “Messiah,” or “Anointed One”), His title and office. Lord denotes His divine and kingly dignity. As well, Immanuel (“God With Us”), references His character as God with us in the flesh. 6

The three names given to our Savior at His birth are expressive of the three greatest truths of Christianity.

Immanuel, or “God with us,” tells of the Incarnation and the visitation of heavenly love.

Jesus may be translated “God for us,” for it signifies the One who saves. This is the message of redemption consummated on Calvary.

But the third name, Christ, “the anointed One,” has a deeper, higher significance, “God in us.” It speaks of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, the union of the eternal God with human hearts and bodies, the full salvation completed at Pentecost and consummated when the heart is united to the Savior. 7

All knowledge of divine truth comes to us by revelation on God’s part and by faith on our part. It was by revelation that Mary learned her firstborn child would be the Son of God. It was by revelation that Joseph also received this knowledge. It was by revelation that the shepherds were led to the manger crib. Later Simeon received the revelation ... and Anna the prophetess ... followed by the various disciples ... and Saul of Tarsus.

The Spirit of God is still revealing to honest hearts the marvelous truths of Jesus and His saving grace. This Christmas we may each receive new revelations of His wonderful purposes and power. The revelations will not come to us through the media, but through the Bible, the Word of Truth, and through the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Truth. 8

Christmas is a time of celebration. “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10,11). Thus the angels announced His birth to the shepherds who went to visit this Babe, and the star shone brightly to lead the Wise Men who brought His gifts. Why shouldn’t we celebrate? This is the birthday of the King of kings, the Lord of lords, our Savior! 9

True, there was no dancing in the streets when Jesus was born in Bethlehem. A few shepherds, obeying angelic directions, found Him and spread the word. Wise Men from the East followed a star until it came to where the King was, and they gave gifts. But for most, life went on as usual.

But let us, to whom has been given so much, do what we can to tell our friends, our neighbors, our world the Savior has come, and He is able to save to the uttermost. The hope of the ages is fulfilled in Him! 10

Thank You, Lord, that You give our lives value and purpose. May we always be willing to stand in Your holy presence and understand who You are and how You wish to use our lives. 11


1 Dec. 18, 1915, Weekly Evangel; “The Nativity”; J.W. Welch, editor and possibly author

2 Dec. 13, 1919, Pentecostal Evangel; “Christmas”; J.T. Boddy, editor and author

3 Dec. 24, 1927, Pentecostal Evangel; “Christmas From a Pentecostal Viewpoint”; Stanley H. Frodsham, editor and author

4 Dec. 21, 1935, Pentecostal Evangel; “The Christmas Message”; D.H. McDowell

5 Dec. 16, 1944, Pentecostal Evangel; “No Room for Him in the Inn”; Ben Hardin

6 Dec. 24, 1949, Pentecostal Evangel; “Our Immanuel — Christ Jesus”; P.C. Nelson

7 Dec. 24, 1950, Pentecostal Evangel; “The Deeper Meaning of Christmas”; A.B. Simpson

8 Dec. 21, 1958, Pentecostal Evangel; “The Editorial Viewpoint: If He Were Born in 1958”; Robert C. Cunningham, editor

9 Dec. 25, 1960, Pentecostal Evangel; “Hanukkah and Christmas”; Gertrude Clonce

10 Dec. 24, 1989, Pentecostal Evangel; “Viewpoint: The Wall Is Down!”; Richard G. Champion, editor

11 Dec. 25, 2011, Pentecostal Evangel; “No Silence Here”; Barbara Hughes


SCOTT HARRUP is managing editor of the Pentecostal Evangel.

 

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