How grand in its utter simplicity is the Gospel narrative of the birth of Jesus! Can any description, in its entire absence of pomp of words, compare with it, and yet nothing is lacking necessary to convey the whole scene to the mind of the most unimaginative. In St. Matthew the key-note is struck thus: "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise;" followed by the simple description of the conception and birth. St. Luke gives a fuller account, and to him we are indebted for Mary's hymn of gratitude and praise. With the help of these two accounts we can picture that wonderful event, the outcome of which was to revolutionize the world.

Under the starry night, all in the little town nestling among the Judæan hills are asleep, save in the quiet shed, where the patient oxen gaze in mild-eyed wonder at these strange intruders—Mary, bending over the manger cradle, and Joseph, watchful and full of care for his loved ones. Away on the hills the shepherds hear the joyful tidings, and rejoicing they take up the song of the angel host, "Glory to God in the highest." Peace and good will upon the earth is indeed declared in the birth of him who shall best present the Christ-idea.

In far-off lands the Magi had perceived a wondrous star, for which, learned as they were in the study of the heavens, they were at first unable to account. We can see them turning over their well-worn manuscripts to discover, if it may be, what this strange star portends. Then they remember that about this time it has been prophesied that a Messiah, a reformer, a king, should come to the earth,—should be born "in Bethlehem of Judæa,"—does this star announce his advent? They set out for Jerusalem, and thence, in obedience to the king's command to "search diligently for the young child" whose birth was thus portended, they depart for Bethlehem. The record reads: "And, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was." With one accord they follow, until—and this is the jewel of which their wonderment was only the setting, for it is the reward of faithful endeavor and obedience to spiritual vision—they came to the humble stable which alone offered shelter to the little king. Silently, in simple faith and wondering awe, they do homage, and give gifts to him who was to lead "captivity captive."

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May 14, 1910

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