“When Your God is too Small at Christmas”

Ted and Charlotte exist in most every church. Their pew has everything but their name on it, though it has been suggested. Ted didn’t let the Covid-19 pandemic keep him and Charlotte away.

No one dares question their dogmatic perspective. The few that have received a condescending glare, because there’s no room for new ideas if the box is already shut.

One Sunday morning Ted got upset during the sermon. The preacher was a fill-in while the pastor of the church was away. Ted couldn’t stomach the guest preacher’s words. “God can use anything, anyone, any circumstance, anytime, to bring people to Himself.”

Ted lowered his mask, turned to Charlotte, and whispered, “That is, if the person is a true Christian and goes to church.”

The preacher continued. “C.S. Lewis was an atheist before he converted to Christianity. In his book Mere Christianity, he wrote:

“Men are mirrors, or ‘carriers’ of Christ to other men. Sometimes unconscious carriers. This ‘good infection’ can be carried by those who have not got it themselves. People who were not Christians themselves helped me to Christianity.” Ted and Charlotte got up and abruptly left during the closing prayer.

Christmas Eve came and they showed up for the midnight service. “I’m so glad our pastor is back!” said Ted. He reached for a hymnal after finding the number in the bulletin. He turned to It Came upon a Midnight Clear.

They didn’t seem to know the story behind that hymn as they sang as loud as they could, and as off-key as they could. Ted probably would have slammed his hymnal shut if someone told him the author of that classic Christmas hymn was Unitarian.

Unitarians don’t believe Jesus is divine or God. Since they don’t believe in salvation through Jesus Christ, they’ve developed a humanistic type of religion that makes salvation dependent upon ethical good works.

It Came upon a Midnight Clear was written in 1849 by Unitarian, Edmund H. Sears. “Notice again the date of the hymn. It was written as the clouds of civil strife were darkening the United States, setting the stage for the War Between the States. (Then Sings My Soul, Robert J. Morgan)

In the three verses of the hymn, Edmund made no mention of Christ, the newborn Babe, or the savior’s mission. As author Robert Morgan found out in his research, “The author’s only focus is the angelic request for peace on earth.”

I get it. Man wanted peace, so Sears wrote It Came upon a Midnight Clear, based on the song of the angels in Luke chapter two. But who provides peace, lasting eternal peace?

I remember the words of a friend of mine from years past, who attended a Unitarian funeral. Her next door neighbors were Unitarian and their daughter was killed in a horrific accident. She told me it was the most depressing service she’d ever attended. “There was no hope.”

Jesus Christ is our ONLY hope. God gave His greatest gift on a tree, the life of Jesus, given for you, and for me. And yes, God can use anything, anyone, any circumstance, anytime, to bring people to Himself.” Even a classic Christmas hymn written by a Unitarian.

The birth of Christ we celebrate at Christmas is part 1. When Christ hung on a cross, bore our sins, bled and died, and then rose from the dead-that was part 2.

And when Jesus Christ comes again to planet earth as a warrior on a white horse with a mark on his thigh which reads, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the eternal trilogy will be complete. Then we will be home, eternally home for Christmas. Then, and only then, will we experience the eternal peace that Edmund Sears craved.

pictures courtesy of “Nelson & his Nikon”

click below to watch lyrical music video of “It Came upon a Midnight Clear”

One thought on ““When Your God is too Small at Christmas”

  1. Amazing devotional. This is so true and it is something most people miss altogether. Thank you Nelson and God Bless You, Gina and the girls! The song is Beautiful and the pictures you used are perfect. I really like the last picture you posted.

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My name is William-Nelson-Haynes. I mentioned my full name because I want to share more than just two-thirds of me. Since life is a journey, it is my hope that this blog keeps you from feeling alone. Please check out my background, education and experience in "The Writer" part of the Menu on the top left-hand corner of the home page. Other Menu items you can scroll through are the Authors who influenced me, Magazine Articles I write for Good News Magazine, the Top 15 books that affected me spiritually, and the other hobbies that also make me come alive.