“You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Benjamin Hanby, a clergyman in the 1800’s in the U.S.A. only lived 34 years yet wrote a remarkable hymn that bears the title of our devotional today. His hymn takes us through Jesus’ birth (just two lines) and then on through His eventful life, death and resurrection. Can this truly be called a Christmas Carol? Perhaps not yet it is so beautifully descriptive of our blessed Lord that it should be sung at Christmas and all the other seasons of the church year.
It is remarkable that some of the truly prolific hymn writers such as Charles Wesley who wrote over 8,000 hymns in his day have not done better than a much lesser man as Hanby who only wrote a few hymns. Verse 4 of this 10 verse hymn goes:
Who is He to whom they bring
All the sick and sorrowing?
The chorus respond to this verse’s question with a resounding answer, “Tis the Lord, the King of glory!” Surely even with all of our medical sophistications today we should recognize that it is the Lord who heals and comforts us in all our afflictions.
We need One who is infinitely greater than all we see around us to give us strength to cope with the tragic and impossible difficulties we face every day. Our friends can weep with us in our times of trouble, but it takes God to remove the obstacle, or else give us strength to endure.
Learn this well, that the One born two thousand years ago was none other than God Incarnate. That is to say, He is God in human form. We require help that exceeds anything humanity can bring to the table. Looking at the issues of life with only human power to deliver us is an exercise in frustration.
Verse 5 asks the question,
Who is He who stands and weeps
At the grave where Lazarus sleeps?
Hanby wants us not only to recognize that Jesus is the Everlasting God but also because of His humanity the one who weeps with those who weep. He is tenderly moved with our sorrows and comes alongside when invited to life the burden and make our lives here bearable. The chorus is a fitting way for us to respond as we answer the question in the title of our devotional.
’Tis the Lord! O wondrous story!
’Tis the Lord! the King of glory!
At His feet we humbly fall,
Crown Him! crown Him, Lord of all!
Have you bowed before Him and confessed Him as both Lord and Christ? Do so and do so this Christmas Day.