The Great Birthday

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. Luke 2:10

Rightly so!  We have the angelic warrant for rejoicing because Christ is born.  It is a truth so full of joy that it caused the angel who came to announce it to be filled with gladness.  He had little to do with the fact, for Christ took not up angels, but he took up the seed of Abraham; but I suppose that the very thought that the Creator should be linked with the creature, that the great Invisible and Omnipotent should come into alliance with that which he himself had made, caused the angel as a creature to feel that all creatureship was elevated and this made him glad.  Besides, there was a sweet benevolence of spirit in the angel’s bosom which made him happy because he had such gladsome tidings to bring to the fallen sons of men.  Albeit they are not our brethren, yet do angels take a loving concern in all our affairs.  They rejoice over us when we repent, they are ministering spirits when we are saved, and they bear us aloft when we depart; and sure we are that they can never be unwilling servants to their Lord or tardy helpers of his beloved ones.  They are friends of the Bridegroom and rejoice in his joy, they are household servants of the family of love, and they wait upon us with an eager diligence, which betokens the tenderness of feeling which they have towards the King’s sons.

Therefore the angel delivered his message cheerfully, as became the place from which he came, the theme which brought him down and his own interest therein.  He said, “I bring you good tidings of great joy,” and we are sure he spoke in accents of delight.  Yea, so glad were angels at this gospel that when the discourse was over, one angel having evangelized and given out the gospel for the day, suddenly a band of choristers appeared and sang an anthem loud and sweet that there might be a full service at the first propounding of the glad tidings of great joy.  A multitude of the heavenly host had heard that a chosen messenger had been sent to proclaim the new-born King, and, filled with holy joy and adoration, they gathered up their strength to pursue him for they could not let him go to earth alone on such an errand.  They overtook him just as he had reached the last word of his discourse, and then they broke forth in that famous chorale, the only one sung of angels that was ever heard by human ears here below, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”  Thus, I say, they had full service; there was gospel ministry in rich discourse concerning Christ, and there was hearty and devout praise from a multitude all filled with heavenly joy.  It was so glad a message that they could not let it be simply spoken by a solitary voice, though that were an angel’s, but they must needs pour forth a glad chorus of praise, singing unto the Lord a new song.

Brothers, if the birth of Jesus was so gladsome to our cousins the angels, what should it be to us?  If it made our neighbors sing who had comparatively so small a share in it, how should it make us leap for joy?  Oh, if it brought heaven down to earth, should not our songs go up to heaven?  If heaven’s gate of pearl was set open at its widest and a stream of shining ones came running downward to the lower skies to anticipate the time when they shall all descend in solemn pomp at the glorious advent of the great King; if it emptied heaven for a while to make earth so glad, ought not our thoughts and praises and all our loves to go pouring up to the eternal gate, leaving earth a while that we may crowd heaven with the songs of mortal men?  Yea, verily, so let it be.

– C.H. Spurgeon Excerpt from the sermon “The Great Birthday”

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