Ellen G. White Writings

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The Youth’s Instructor

December 26, 1905

Unto You a Saviour

The King of glory stooped low to take humanity. Rude and forbidding were his earthly surroundings. His glory was veiled, that the majesty of his outward form might not become an object of attraction. He shunned all outward display. Riches, worldly honor, and human greatness can never save a soul from death; Jesus purposed that no attraction of an earthly nature should call men to his side. Only the beauty of heavenly truth must draw those who would follow him.

The angels had wondered at the glorious plan of redemption. They watched to see how the people of God would receive his Son, clothed in the garb of humanity. Angels came to the land of the chosen people. Other nations were dealing in fables, and worshiping false gods. To the land where the glory of God had been revealed, and the light of prophecy had shone, the angels came. They came unseen to Jerusalem, to the appointed expositors of the Sacred Oracles, and the ministers of God's house. Already the forerunner, John the Baptist, was born, his mission attested by miracle and prophecy. The tidings of his birth and the wonderful significance of his mission had been spread abroad. Yet Jerusalem was not preparing to welcome her Redeemer.

With amazement the heavenly messengers beheld the indifference of that people whom God had called to communicate to the world the light of sacred truth. The Jewish nation had been preserved as a witness that Christ was to be born of the seed of Abraham and of David's line; yet they knew not that his coming was now at hand. In the temple the morning and the evening sacrifice daily pointed to the Lamb of God; yet even here was no preparation to receive him. The priests and teachers of the nation knew not that the greatest event of the ages was about to take place. They rehearsed their meaningless prayers, and performed the rites of worship to be seen by men, but in their strife for riches and worldly honor they were not prepared for the revelation of the Messiah. The same indifference pervaded the land of Israel. Hearts, selfish and world-engrossed, were untouched by the joy that thrilled all heaven. Only a few were longing to behold the Unseen. To these heaven's embassy was sent.

Angels attend Joseph and Mary as they journey from their home in Nazareth to the city of David. But in the city of their royal line, they are unrecognized and unhonored. Weary and homeless, they traverse the entire length of the narrow street, from the gate of the city to the eastern extremity of the town, vainly seeking a resting-place for the night. There is no room for them at the crowded inn. In a rude building where the beasts are sheltered, they at last find refuge, and here the Redeemer of the world is born.

Men know it not, but the tidings fill heaven with rejoicing. With a deeper and more tender interest the holy beings from the world of light are drawn to earth. The whole world is brighter for his presence. Above the hills of Bethlehem are gathered an innumerable throng of angels. They wait the signal to declare the glad news to the world. Had the leaders in Israel been true to their trust, they might have shared the joy of heralding the birth of Jesus. But now they are passed by.

In the fields where the boy David had led his flock, shepherds were still keeping watch by night. Through the silent hours they talked together of the promised Saviour, and prayed for the coming of the King to David's throne. “And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, 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 Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” “Heaven is love.” Wonder, O heavens! and be astonished, O earth!

At these words, visions of glory fill the minds of the listening shepherds. The Deliverer has come to Israel! Power, exaltation, triumph, are associated with his coming. But the angel must prepare them to recognize their Saviour in poverty and humiliation. “This shall be a sign unto you,” he says, “ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”

The heavenly messenger had quieted their fears. He had told them how to find Jesus. With tender regard for their human weakness, he had given them time to become accustomed to divine radiance. Then the joy and glory could no longer be hidden. The whole plain was lighted up with the bright shining of the hosts of God. Earth was hushed, and heaven stooped to listen to the song.—“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, good will toward men.”

O that today the human family could recognize that song! The declaration then made, the note then struck, will swell till the close of time, and resound to the ends of the earth. When the Sun of Righteousness shall arise, with healing in his wings, that song will be re-echoed by the voice of a great multitude, as the voice of many waters, saying, “Alleluia, for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.”

Mrs. E. G. White

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