Altar Call Ė Opelika-Auburn News
December 27, 2015
My most cherished Christmas card
††††††† In 1957 I was a student at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. After completing my fall classes I was home in Alabama with Dean, awaiting the birth of our second child. Matt was born two days before Christmas.
While opening Christmas cards that month I was surprised to receive one from the dean of the theology school, Dr. William Ragsdale Cannon. On the front of the card was printed a deeply moving poem he had composed. I knew immediately the card was a keeper.
On Christmas Sunday I shared Cannonís poem in my sermon. People loved it and wanted copies of it. This reinforced my feeling that the card was indeed a treasure. Over the years I have received thousands of Christmas cards but none is more cherished that the one with Cannonís poem.
Since 1957 I have shared the poem every Christmas. It touches the heart. It reminds us what really matters. It helps us focus on lifeís true values.
††††††† Christmas comes. Christmas goes. We take the tree down, box up the lights and decorations, stuff the wrapping paper in the trash can, and life moves on. And no matter what gifts we received on Christmas morning, we realize that what matters most about Christmas is the birth of the baby who is our Savior, Jesus Christ. †
††††††† Though Christmas is past I want to share with you one more time Cannonís beautiful poem. Read it slowly. Reflect on its meaning. Consider it another gift two days after Christmas. It could be one of the finest gifts you will receive this Christmas.
I cannot give the reason why
A circumstance so old and small
As Jesusí birth in Bethlehem
Should be remembered by us all.
Earth was not young when he was born.
Age after age had come and gone.
Nor did time cease its endless track
For countless years continued on.
His was a simple life to live
In haunts of pleasantness and pain.
The Roman world but passed him by;
On Caesarís throne he did not reign.
Now Rome and Caesarís dead.
Their deeds are like a tale thatís told.
While men still look to Bethlehem
Godís life to find as they of old.
It all seems strange, like fancy wild;
It cannot be, and yet it is,
And will be still when timeís no more
And earth is gone, and all that is.
I cannot give the reason why
And yet my heart is all aglow,
For God was in that baby boy
And love is all we need to know.
††††††† Cannon, who would later be elected a Methodist bishop, nailed it. Love motivated Almighty God to come into the world as a baby boy and nothing matters more than love. Hate, violence and anger are belched out of hell. When the end comes, and the dust clears, the only thing remaining will be love.
Love is truly all we need to know Ė in hard times and in good times.† Believe it. Practice it. Do your best to live a life of love so when this short life is over you will be prepared to fall into the arms of the God who is love. †+ + +