With just a few days left until Christmas, I am sure most everyone's life is busy trying to make preparations for the special day. In my blog last week I made some comments about trying to stay focused and not be distracted with all the "stuff" going on around us. Believe me I know that is hard to do, but if you can find just a little quiet time between now and Christmas, I would encourage you to just pick up your Bible and read the brief account of the events surrounding the birth of Christ. It is a story that never gets old.
The first Church I Pastored (Eureka Missionary Baptist Church, now relocated and renamed Fair Haven MBC ) was a little one in West Virginia that was organized out of a mission work the Lord had led me to start in 1986. Every year at Christmas instead of having a "program", we had a special service where we encouraged everyone to bring a gift of love to the Lord. Not physical gifts, but something out of your heart. It could be anything from just requesting that we all sing a special song, or maybe reading a special passage of scripture, or if you wanted to sing a special song yourself ( we only had a couple people who felt comfortable doing that, but the ones who had that talent did). Many of us who had no musical talent would take pen and paper and with the Lord's help try to search deep within our hearts for words to write a poem or a short prose. It was always a great blessing and joy to hear and experience what came out of these special Christmas services. I literally have books of those poems and writings from those years. I just spoke with Brother Ivan Smith yesterday who is now Pastor of Fair Haven MBC and he told me they were having their special service this Sunday and they were still continuing the tradition started way back when were just a new mission in 1986. He said they all look forward to it with great anticipation each year.
In looking through some of my own old writings, I came across the poem I wrote for our 1988 special Christmas service. I'd like to share it with you, not because I have any great talent, but in hopes that it might help you take a quiet moment to simply "reflect"
A PRESENT OF LOVE
By Danny Chandler
The night was calm and the sky so bright,
As the shepherds beheld the glorious light
That shined round the babe in his humble estate.
Who could imagine, this child held all of our fate.
In him shown the glory of the Father above,
A gift from heaven, a present of love.
This child was not like those who before him had come,
This one was special, he was God's son.
Born of a virgin as the prophets proclaimed.
Sent with the message we find in his name.
'Jesus', "for he shall save his people from their sins".
And so it is here, in the stable, our story begins.
No room in the inn for Jesus to stay.
No room in men's hearts of then or today.
Despised and rejected, forsake and scorned.
Such was his life, but to this he was born.
From the time he first stood, he preached from his heart,
That men must repent and from sin they must part.
They must look unto Him, and forsake their old ways,
Else be severed from God in judgement some day.
This message was unpopular wherever he went,
And so from their own presence the Savior they sent.
Choosing to hold pride and worldly things,
Rather than proclaim him Lord, Savior, and King.
We find him then at the close of his life,
Still the object of hatred, men's envy and strife.
Betrayed by a friend, and nailed to a tree,
Rejected by those he had come to set free.
His glory was not in the praises of men,
It was in giving his life for their pardon from sin.
And God was pleased with the price that he paid,
For he raised him again to life the third day.
So this is the story that I love to proclaim.
That salvation's in Jesus and no other name.
I don't point men to Bethlehem and an inn with no room,
I point then to Calvary, and a dark, empty, tomb.
My name is Daniel (Danny) Chandler and I am the Pastor of Sulphur Fork Missionary Baptist Church in Sumner Co. TN.