Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Christ Child's Missing Hand

More than a decade ago, I received this lovely nativity set from dear friends and it has been a central part of my Christmas display every year since. Poor baby Jesus somehow lost one of his hands along the way. The damaged Christ child figurine always reminds me of a story that is told of a statue of Christ damaged during a war time bombing raid. Reportedly the statue's hands were broken off and a sign was attached that read, "Christ has no hands but your hands." (It is a lovely, touching story, but I have not been able to confirm its accuracy.) 

What I have learned is that Annie Johnston Flint wrote a poem that spoke of Christ having no hands but ours.  She was a gifted poet (1866-1932) who wrote a poem entitled "The World's Bible". I've included it here because it is just wonderful and well worth remembering.

The World's Bible
by Annie Johnston Flint

Christ has no hands but our hands to do His work today;
He has no feet but our feet to lead men in His way;
He has no tongue but our tongues to tell men how He died;
He has no help but our help to bring them to His side.

We are the only Bible the careless world will read;
We are the sinner's gospel, we are the scoffer's creed;
We are the Lord's last message, given in deed and word;
What if the type is crooked? What if the print is blurred?

What if our hands are busy with other work than His?
What if our feet are walking where sin's allurement is?
What if our tongues are speaking of things His lips would spurn"
How can we hope to help Him and hasten His return?

That wonderful poem says a sermon-full in just a few lines, doesn't it? Friends, if we are "the only Bible the careless world will read", and you can be sure we are, then we need to be careful of what message we give to that careless world. If a lost world looks to us to get the story about Jesus and the importance of Christ, we need to be sure we get our story straight. Especially during this Advent season, as we approach Christmas, we need to consider whether or not our celebration of the Birthday of The King is one that helps the world understand Who Jesus is and why He came. 

Tonight, let's ask ourselves, if we are the only Bible the careless world is reading this Christmas, what are they seeing about Jesus in us? Let's be sure they see the truth we meant them to see. 

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