Here’s a small portion of a Christmas day message from Reverend Edward Payson to help us as we determine – with God’s help – to make this a Christ-centered Christmas season.
“Is it true that unto our sinful race a child is born, to whom belong the wonderful names mentioned in our text, and to whom the salvation and the government of the world is committed? Surely then, my friends, it becomes us to rejoice, and to commemorate this all-important event with most lively emotions of thankfulness and praise.
In this offering all mankind are called upon to join [in], since the gift is to the whole race of men; for all people, and nations, and tongues, and languages, may cry,
‘Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end.’
And the song [that started] in one part of the earth at the dawn of this [Christmas day], ought to be echoed round the world as the same day dawns successively on its different chimes.
Even the blessed spirits of the ‘just made perfect’ in heaven may be considered as rejoicing in the birth of the great Deliverer, who redeemed them from worse than Egyptian bondage, brought them into the glorious light and liberty of the children of God, and finally raised them to the blissful mansions which they now inhabit, and where the increase of happiness will never end.
Nay more, the blessed angels themselves, who sang ‘glory to God in the highest,’ when they announced the Saviour’s birth, may be considered as repeating the same song.
Let it give intensity to our joy, that we may now celebrate His birth and resurrection at once.”
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you; you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!'”
~Luke 2:11-14 (ESV)
Reverend Edward Payson, whose dad was a pastor too, was born in 1783 in Rindge, New Hampshire. His daughter, Elizabeth Payson Prentiss, wrote the familiar hymn, “More Love to Thee.”