It was one of the strangest prayers ever uttered. He was called to preach before the somewhat fearsome Queen Victoria at very short notice. Being somewhat overwhelmed by the experience he burst forth with infamous rhetorical power:
“Grant that as she grows to be an old woman she may be made a new man; and that in all righteous causes she may go forth before her people like a he-goat on the mountains”!
Something intended to be eloquent and illuminating but only remembered today because it came out so utterly mangled. Christmas time, by comparison, is not an occasion rushed upon us at the last minute, but still seems to suffer from the same ability to produce a somewhat mangled message amid a vast array of flashing house decorations, red costumes, beards, sleds and fir trees.
Best then let the Bible do some plain talking:
“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 angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”
The true celebration of this season is Jesus, the one born to die in our place that we might have life eternal and the wonderful forgiveness of all our sins. Hallelujah!