Grace & Truth Chapel
131 Fardale Avenue ~ Mahwah, New Jersey
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"The Most Unlikely Story" (posted December 10, 2021)

   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, goodwill toward men!"
   So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, "Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us." And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child.
   - Luke 2:13-17

They saw, and made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. They published it generally.

Never had child been born under such auspices, nor introduced by such angelic acclamation, but their declaration was unnoticed. The wonderful saying which the shepherds made known abroad fell on ears dull and apathetic. The public effect was nil. No one appeared to care.

Shepherds! Who would listen to them! They were poor ignorant men, visionaries of some wild delusion. Had the priests and the scribes carried the report, there might have been some reason in hearing it. But shepherds-- announcing a Saviour born that day, even Christ the Lord, and He too lying in a manger-- impossible, incredible, and only to be ignored.

The story was so unlikely! A Savior, the Christ, Jehovah, born and lying, forsooth! in the manger of some cattle-shed, swaddled there in circumstances of palpable poverty! Never! A palace would be too mean for such a one! The highest dignities that earth could proffer would be unworthy of the Christ, the Savior; but that Savior, the Lord, Jehovah, cradled in a feeding-trough staggers conception.

Yes, the mystery of the grace of the Incarnation has always done so. Nature and reason stand bewildered. The story is either true or false. It is either the greatest act of humiliation (save, indeed, the cross) or the wildest piece of imagination that ever entered, or could enter, the brain of man. Indeed, such an invention is utterly inconceivable.

Ten thousand thanks be to God, the Manger of Bethlehem, ennobled by the presence in infant form of Christ the Lord, stands out in all the certainty of a fact divinely attested, and accredited by faith!

John Wilson-Smith

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