– Dec. 24, 1932 –
It’s fitting to focus on Christmas writings both this week and next. To kick things off, here’s an editorial that appeared on page 14 of the Dec. 24, 1932, issue. It most likely was written by editor Edwin Reeder Errett.
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GOD TOUCHED MAN
The glorious thing about the act of Jesus in cleansing the lone leper who came to Him saying “If thou wilt”—, was not merely the fact that Jesus cleansed him, or even the fact that Jesus said “I will.” The thing that throws a flood of glory around the whole incident is the fact that Jesus touched him—touched him who had not for years and years been permitted the boon of the touch of a clean hand, a man who had been cut away from every tender caress and every companionable gesture, who must himself go through the streets crying his neighbors away from him! Jesus touched his loathsomeness!
The glorious thing about Christmas is that what it celebrates is the fact that, in Christ, God touched humanity—sinful, loathsome, diseased humanity. God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself. The Divine put Himself into the human flesh, thus humbling Himself to make intimate contact with us.
Thus, all the longing of the centuries, the “search after God” upon the part of all the races, was in effect a cry, “If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean,” and in the birth of Jesus we have Heaven’s answer, “I will.”
The pitiful thing about it all is that leprous humanity still wanders about unclean, unwilling to believe that the divine touch has come. Even some professedly Christian leaders are participating in the almost blasphemous talk about “a search after God”—seeking for Him who stands revealed, asking for cleansing when the touch has already been proffered.
How much of the message of Christmas do those poor people miss who do not see in Christianity the unique work of revelation. They do not see God taking the initiative. They see only the birth of another child who grows up to join the general search after a God who, according to them, must be forever concealing Himself and insists upon being hunted out.
But we who believe that Christianity is not in any way on a par with the other religions, who see in it the one supreme revelation—how much, how very much, we have in Christmas! We have a God who did not wait for us to find Him. He showed Himself. He took the aggressive. He sought us and He yet seeks us. He is the Lover of lovers, the Suitor of suitors, and One who even redeems the erring bride and suffers unmeasured agony to seek out and restore the one who has been indifferent.
Christmas can mean little for a humanist, after all. It means everything for him who knows that God took the initiative, that in the babe in the manger the Divine hand touched leprous humanity.
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—Jim Nieman, managing editor, Christian Standard