On this ninth day of Advent, Norman Vincent Peale, the founder of Guideposts , shares what he calls "the two enormous pillars upon which rest the truth of Christmas..."
Day 9: How Wonderful that Christ Was Born
Christmas brings back warm and inspiring memories of my visits to the Holy Land. In Bethlehem there is an enormous old church, erected over the place where the immortal inn of Bethlehem stood.
This inn was not really a building but rather a series of interlocking caves in the side of a hill. People and the beasts of the field slept there during the winter nights. In this humble place was born the most beloved, most colossal figure that humanity has ever known.
On the spot where the manger stood there is today a golden star. worn smooth by the touch of millions of pilgrims. Above is an eternal light.
On one particular occasion, which I remember vividly, our group spontaneously burst into the old familiar hymn, “O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie.” Then we bowed in prayer.
The group moved reluctantly away, but one man, a rather hard-bitten person, a friend of mine, lingered behind and said something I shall never forget.
Pointing to the star, he said, “How wonderful that Jesus Christ was born. How wonderful for me that He was born. I can’t imagine what my life would have been without Him.”
This could be echoed by the entire world: “How wonderful that Jesus Christ was born.” When Jesus came, love came.
God knew that men could not realize their full potential, could not live together, unless they were activated by love; that society would disintegrate unless love was involved in it.
Many statements have been made by poets, writers and statesmen throughout history, but one stands out like a mountain peak! “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 Savior. which is Christ the Lord.”
Add the statement: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” and we have the two enormous pillars upon which rest the truth of Christmas.
That is what Christmas is about; that is why we use bright colors and sing joyful songs at Christmas—we want to celebrate because we’ve got Somebody Who loves us, no matter how badly we act.
We are not rejected. He will forgive our sins. He is our Savior. This is the message of Christmas.
This story first appeared in the December 1979 edition of Guideposts.