In his Christmas Oratorio, just after the recitative recounting the wise men presenting their gifts, Bach places the Lutheran hymn “Ich steh an deiner Krippen hier” (I Stand Here by thy Cradle).
The lyrics in translation read in part:
I stand at thy cradle here,
O Jesus, my life;
I come, bring and give to thee,
What thou hast given me.
Among the many gifts Jesus has given us is the power, the ability, to follow Him, to act and to do good in the world.
In a little-remembered scene from Dickens' Christmas Carol, Scrooge follows Marly's Ghost to a window and see other ghosts.
“The air was filled with phantoms, wandering hither and thither in restless haste, and moaning as they went. Every one of them wore chains like Marley's Ghost; some few (they might be guilty governments) were linked together; none were free. Many had been personally known to Scrooge in their lives. He had been quite familiar with one old ghost, in a white waistcoat, with a monstrous iron safe attached to its ankle, who cried piteously at being unable to assist a wretched woman with an infant, whom it saw below, upon a door-step. The misery with them all was, clearly, that they sought to interfere, for good, in human matters, and had lost the power for ever.”
By following Jesus we can retain and expand our power to do good in the world, this season and always.
And special thanks to all those who have helped this Christmas season to #LIGHTtheWORLD.
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