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My most cherished
††††††† In 1957 I was a student at the Candler
School of Theology at Emory University. After completing my fall classes I was
home in Alabama with Dean, awaiting the birth of our second child. Matt was
born two days before Christmas.
While opening Christmas cards that
month I was surprised to receive one from the dean of the theology school, Dr.
William Ragsdale Cannon. On the front of the card was printed a deeply moving
poem he had composed. I knew immediately the card was a keeper.
On Christmas Sunday I shared Cannonís
poem in my sermon. People loved it and wanted copies of it. This reinforced my
feeling that the card was indeed a treasure. Over the years I have received
thousands of Christmas cards but none is more cherished that the one with
Since 1957 I have shared the poem every
Christmas. It touches the heart. It reminds us what really matters. It helps us
focus on lifeís true values.
††††††† Christmas comes. Christmas goes. We take
the tree down, box up the lights and decorations, stuff the wrapping paper in
the trash can, and life moves on. And no matter what gifts we received on
Christmas morning, we realize that what matters most about Christmas is the
birth of the baby who is our Savior, Jesus Christ. †
††††††† Though Christmas is past I want to share
with you one more time Cannonís beautiful poem. Read it slowly. Reflect on its
meaning. Consider it another gift two days after Christmas. It could be one of
the finest gifts you will receive this Christmas.
I cannot give the reason why
A circumstance so old and small
As Jesusí birth in Bethlehem
Should be remembered by us all.
Earth was not young when he was born.
Age after age had come and gone.
Nor did time cease its endless track
For countless years continued on.
His was a simple life to live
In haunts of pleasantness and pain.
The Roman world but passed him by;
On Caesarís throne he did not reign.
Now Rome and Caesarís dead.
Their deeds are like a tale thatís
While men still look to Bethlehem
Godís life to find as they of old.
It all seems strange, like fancy wild;
It cannot be, and yet it is,
And will be still when timeís no more
And earth is gone, and all that is.
I cannot give the reason why
And yet my heart is all aglow,
For God was in that baby boy
And love is all we need to know.
††††††† Cannon, who would later be elected a
Methodist bishop, nailed it. Love motivated Almighty God to come into the world
as a baby boy and nothing matters more than love. Hate, violence and anger are
belched out of hell. When the end comes, and the dust clears, the only thing
remaining will be love.
Love is truly all we need to know Ė in
hard times and in good times.† Believe
it. Practice it. Do your best to live a life of love so when this short life is
over you will be prepared to fall into the arms of the God who is love. †+ + +