Thoughts On Christmas by Luther
Have you ever said to yourself, “If I had been in Bethlehem the first Christmas, things would have been different. I would have...” I found the following excerpt from Martin Luther’s Christmas Book very challenging:
"Joseph had to do his best, and it may well be that he asked some maid to fetch water or something else, but we do not read that anyone came to help. They heard that a young wife was lying in a cow stall and no one gave heed. Shame on you, wretched Bethlehem! The inn ought to have been burned with brimstone, for even though Mary had been a beggar maid or unwed, anybody at such a time should have been glad to give her a hand.
There are many of you in this congregation who think to yourselves: “If only I had been there! How quick I would have been to help the Baby! I would have washed His linen. How happy I would have been to go with the shepherds to see the Lord lying in the manger!” Yes, you would! You say that because you know how great Christ is, but if you had been there at that time you would have done no better than the people of Bethlehem. Childish and silly thoughts are these! Why don’t you do it now! You have Christ in your neighbor. You ought to serve him, for what you do to your neighbor in need you do to the Lord Christ Himself.
Martin Luther was right. We know he is right because Christmas present is no different than Christmas past. The only way we can say things might have been different that first Christmas is by making our present Christmas different.
The words of Christ in Matt. 23:31—36 and the exhortation of John in I John 3:16, 17 challenge me and ought to challenge us as we consider the love of Christ demonstrated to us and our need to demonstrate that love of Christ to others. How different will this Christmas be for you?