The whole world
was rolling down the ages in darkness to its doom. Did the hosts that populate
the regions of unsullied light peer over the battlements of heaven and mark
with sadness its downward course? Did these glorious beings shudder as from
that dark world arose groans and curses, sobs and cries, ribald laughter, horrible
blasphemy, shouts and yells of licensed massacre from multitudinous battlefields?
Any help? Any hope? None! none! for who can stay a world that has cut itself
loose from its God and has bidden an eternal defiance to its Creator?
And yet, it
seems as they ponder over that insoluble enigma, the Eternal King rises from
His throne and, laying aside the mantled splendor of deity, steps from star
to star until He reaches the door of our dark world. As befits His dignity,
there shines a light, unearthly in its brilliance, from the band of heaven's
glorious torch-bearers; there sounds a blare of trumpets from the heralds of
the court of glory, the music of the spheres made audible for once! But for
some sleepy shepherds, startled from their midnight watch on the slopes of Bethlehem's
pastures, the light that had ne'er shone on hill and dale before had shined
forth unobserved, the cadences that ne'er had floated over the homes and haunts
of men before had sounded in vain as far as this world was concerned. And when
that door which separates this world of sense and sin from that world of spirit
and glory had swung back for once in all its history inwards, the Lord
of Glory entered as a little Child swaddled in the poor linen of a toiler's
home and cradled in a manger! And this was how the Lord of the Universe came
to the dark world He had loved and lost awhile, which He yet loved with a love
stronger than death, and, loving, sought amid the night of time until He found
The scene changes!
It is no longer midnight. 'Tis high noon. It is no longer the open courtyard
of the Inn of Bethlehem; it is the road that, winding down the slopes of Olivet,
climbs to the great gate of the city, the Holy City -- Jerusalem. It is no longer
a solitary silence broken by the champing of cattle and the faint, low cry of
one in pain. It is the meeting of two crowds -- the one bearing in its front
a young Man in the prime of life riding on a colt and strewing the road with
garments and greenery; the other pouring forth from the city's portal, lining
the way, and mingling their voices in the great cry of "Hosanna! O Save!" Listen
how the two crowds unite in using the words penned many centuries before by
the Psalmist (Ps. 118:26): "Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord."
Time on tiptoe all down the ages had been shouting, "He is coming!" "He is coming!"
has been the testimony of prophet, priest, and king. "He is on the way!" murmurs
each gush of steaming blood that flows from every sacrifice. Trumpets caught
up the whisper and pealed the glad tidings forth until the listening air, learning
the lesson, repeated it in each wave of sound that broke on the encircling,
And now the
whole city is moved, for old men and children, young men and maidens, are streaming
forth from court and alley, from terraced slope and darksome bazaar, and meeting
the multitudes form the surrounding villages and hamlets, join their voices
in a mighty shout, "Hosanna in the highest!"
We have seen
Him come to the door of the world; now we see Him come to the gate of the capital.
Again, if men's ears had been trained to catch the strains of heavenly music,
they would have heard the Glory Song, the sweet antiphon of the skies: "Lift
up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the
King of Glory shall come in.
D. Anderson-Berry, M.D.