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Issue at Hand, December 2021

The month of December ushers in a season of the year that is precious to the believer because of its association with the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Though our celebration of Christmas during this month of the year is more representative of Christian tradition than a real knowledge of exactly when the Christ-child was born, it nonetheless draws our attention to the preeminent miracle of all history—the Incarnation.  

The immensity of what happened in a lowly stable in Bethlehem on Christmas day cannot be adequately expressed in words. God himself came to earth in human form to fulfill his covenant vow to send a “seed” that would destroy the curse of sin and rescue his people from bondage. But he came in a form that no one recognized, doing this to subvert any thought that humanity would be saved by its own power, wealth, or prestige. The indescribable paradox (look this word up!) that this represents is the greatest mystery the world will ever know. 

Though human words may fail us, the “breath” of God provided to us in Scripture tells us exactly who was in the manger on Christmas morning. Here is how God describes his “dear Son”: 

Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. (Col. 1:15–18) 

As the creation around us becomes dormant and appears to die under the ice and snow of winter, we remember the birth of our Messiah, who is the focal point of all history. The seed of life implanted in the virgin Mary “was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). As we ponder the blessed mystery of the Incarnation this month, let us see the grace of God revealed in his Son and worship him, that he might have the preeminence! 

The feature articles for this month will focus our worship on the promised Messiah, who is honored in word and in song by believers of all ages. The first of these articles, written several years ago for Beacon Lights by Prof. Herman Hanko, will remind us of the reason that we continue to celebrate the Christmas holiday despite its corruption by the world. This article is followed by a reflection on the gift of speech shown to us in the words of Zacharias, who celebrated his Lord more than the son he had been miraculously granted in his old age. The third of our feature articles leads readers to ponder the value of spiritual music as a means of praising God with its commendation of the majestic seasonal piece Messiah, composed by G. F. Handel. Lest we forget the dangers of this season with its often-trite view of the manger, we are reminded in our concluding feature article that the Lord of glory who came in the flesh will always be ignored and rejected by those who have not received the gift of faith and have no room for Jesus. 

As we close out this calendar year, we give thanks to God for making publication of Beacon Lights possible. We ask readers for their prayers and continued support as we look forward to a new year (and a new look) for Beacon Lights. May God continue to be praised through this magazine and its contents in the coming year!