O Shenandoah! By Faith Alone rose
O Shenandoah! By Faith Alone

Widely varied in size and structure, picturesque houses of worship cling throughout generations to the Valley's hills and hollers. There's an echo of faith in everyday conversation and an ancient devotion steels Shenandoah residents in courage, humor and grace as they struggle with weather-related and man-made catastrophes.

"The First Christmas Gift"

By Eunice Soper

It was over nineteen hundred years ago, on a starry night in old Judea, that a Baby was born. He should have been born in a small, comfortable home in Nazareth -- for His father was a carpenter. The ruler of the land had called for all people to return to their original homes for taxation purposes. Thus the carpenter and his wife had been forced to travel to Bethlehem. The city was crowded with people who returned for the same purpose, and there was no room left in any of the inns. Hence it was that the carpenter and his wife took refuge in a stable, and there the Child was born.

What few people realized was that this Child, born under such lowly conditions, was really none other than the Son of God, who had come to "seek and to save that which was lost." His first home on this earth was a barn, but His original home was in that glorious heaven above.

From the "mansions of glory" to a stable is a long step, but it was one that He gladly took for us. From the heavenly courts, with the attendant angels, to a bed in a manger is a big change, but He made that change for us. From the streets of gold to an earthen-floored home was a humiliation, but He was willing to suffer it for us. From the Son of God to the son of a carpenter was a comedown, but He became one with us because of His love for us.

Heaven had truly been His throne. He had sat there, in glory and majesty. He had been attended by the throngs of angels. He was equal with God. But because He loved us, all His glory meant nothing to Him until He could redeem us from the power that was keeping us away from Him.

He gladly left His beautiful home in heaven and came to this earth as a baby, so many years ago. He could have left reluctantly; He could have been resentful of the necessity for rescuing a willful people. He could have felt sorry for Himself because of the humiliation and suffering He had to go through. But He felt none of these. He came down to us willingly and gladly, for He loved us. He thought only of the joy of redeeming us from everlasting death.

How glad we can be that the Baby who was born in the stable in Bethlehem so long ago was no ordinary baby, but the Son of God, who had left His heavenly home to live with us, and die for us, and to redeem us from the power of sin.

"Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: ...
saith the Lord."
Acts 7:49.

Eunice Soper has written many devotional books, mostly for children. Semi-retired from professional service worldwide for the Seventh Day Adventist Church, she and her husband, Francis, radiate peace, strength and practical good-heartedness from their adopted home in the central Shenandoah Valley.


Word Preserve -- O Shenandoah! Country Rag Index

"The First Christmas Gift" Eunice Soper, 1996. All rights reserved.