The theme for today’s devotional by Dr. David Jeremiah is ”The Birthday of a King!”
SCRIPTURE: …and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”-Luke 2:20
Some people knew him as an accomplished organist who made New York’s St. Michael’s Church vibrate with intensity every Sunday morning. Others knew him as a compassionate worker with disabled children and the founder of a school for underachievers in East Orange, New Jersey. Today we know him as the composer who gave us one of our greatest Christmas carols: William H. Neidlinger.
Neidlinger was born on July 20, 1863, in Brooklyn, New York. He studied in London and Paris, and he taught in Chicago and New Jersey. He was a choral conductor, voice teacher, poet, and organist. A creative editor of songbooks, primarily for children, he was also a pragmatic musical theorist on methods and education. Above all, he was a composer.
While the specifics of the creation of “The Birthday of a King” are unknown, we can guess that it might have been written or children—as his volume of children’s songs was a standard resource for early educators in the latter years of the nineteenth century.
As Neidlinger sought to teach children about the gift of music, God, too, continually seeks to teach His children. We are taught of how the heavens rejoiced and the angels cheered at the birth of our Savior. For Jesus wasn’t born by accident. He entered this world at a preordained moment to fulfill an eternally planned strategy for redeeming the human race. What a birthday celebration that must have been!
We are taught that Christmas is the celebration of the moment the Eternal God entered into humanity through the womb of a virgin—history’s greatest miracle of conception and birth. The reason Christmas captures our attention is that we have the sense that God Himself is being born—born so that we may be born again in Him. In light of these teachings, how can we also not rejoice and focus on the joy that appeared that first Christmas night?
As we inch closer to the birthday of our Savior, write out, as a family, a list of the things you are joyful for. Although it may be hard amongst the busyness of the season, take some time to sit down and really contemplate what “joy” is in your life. Perhaps you’re joyful for good health, a new job opportunity, or an impending graduation. Whatever falls on your list, thank God for it all.
Alleluia! O how the angels sang. Alleluia! How it rang!
And the sky was bright with a holy light, ’Twas the birthday of a King.