Have you ever been on the coast in the month of December? Most of us avoid it at that time of year. I have often worked in snowstorms on the shore right next to the lake. There is nothing like it. The waves crash and the wind roars and the lake effect snow blows parallel to the ground. However, as soon as you get past the lip of the dune in the woods, where the white pine and hemlocks form an arbor over your head, the heavy snow muffles the sound so that you feel like you are in your own private world, all alone. At this time you are required to pause, lie down in the snow, and let the giant flakes land on your face.
In line with the mood that is created at that time, I am going to list the aspects of the shore that speak to me of the coming and work of the promised Messiah, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The first aspect of Christmas on the coast is the silent solitude of the woods on the shore when the snow is falling through the trees, which I spoke of earlier. The world is hushed as I imagine the expectant creation was on the night when the Christ Child was born. That tranquility also speaks of the peace that was established between God and man through the coming and sacrifice of His Son. That peace belongs to the troubled heart that finds forgiveness and rest in the love of the Savior.
That love washes away all the sins that condemn us before the judgment seat of God and carries our guilt far away even as the waves sweep the shore. That same water enters a cycle in the atmosphere and returns as the pure white blanket of snow upon the shore turning everything into a sparkling purity; the purity of a soul that has been cleansed of its sins; the dazzling white purity of the robes of the saints who stand before the throne of God.
I feel the pulse of life that flows in the awesome interdependence of the ecosystem of the coastline: the relationships between the water, the wind, the sand, the dunes, the plants, the animals, and even man. This interwoven masterpiece is created and maintained by a sovereign God who rules moment by moment, breath by breath, the creation that speaks His praises. In the same way, our heavenly Father so governed all things so that the “fullness of time” should come: that time when the Christ Child was born of the Virgin Mary. That birth, that miracle, is the central event of all time, the focus of all that is created. By it God realized His covenant of salvation that made sinners to be the friends and family of God.
These things are in my heart and mind as my memory takes me back to the many times I have sat on the golden shore in wintertime. My heart’s desire is that you, too, may know and love the great God Who sent His own Son as the Savior of sinners.
“Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace, goodwill to men.”
A Savior Came That Day
A Savior came to us that day,
In the hills of Judea, far away.
Not for Himself did He come,
But for His own, to save each one.
Born to a lowly virgin maid,
Into a cattle manger He was laid.
Wrapped in swaddling clothes, a king.
Angels in multitude of Him did sing.
He came to bring an end of shame.
Forgiveness and peace did He bring.
Redemption and mercy make the heavens ring.
If we on our own works rely,
In the judgment we shall surely die.
If we rest alone on His work always,
Before God our sins are washed away.
Rejoice, O sinner, loudly sing,
Praises to the Lord your King.
Thankful that a Child was born,
On that first, quiet Christmas morn.