‘Army of Stars’ Asks, “What Child is This?”

General and Mrs. Paul Rader Answer Question

General Paul A. Rader and Mrs. General Kay F. Rader contribute a Christmas message to the “Army of Stars.”

“What child is this who laid to rest on Mary’s lap is sleeping?” It’s an old carol that asks a recurring question-a question that leads us to the very heart of the Christmas story.

Just who is this babe of Bethlehem who calls forth the anthems of angel choirs, is worshiped by common shepherds, and celebrated by Magi from afar?

We know that he was unique, we know that he inspired in ordinary folk incredible courage, quenchless love, and wondrous loyalty.

We know that his life in teaching revealed the heart of God as no other priest or prophet or poet had ever done before him.

What child is this? His message was love for God and the world of human persons. He spoke of forgiveness of faith and fidelity.

He taught us that our love for God is measured best by the extent of our caring for the least among us. The disadvantaged, the disabled, the powerless and the poor. He excluded no one.

He taught us that it is better to give than to receive, that we should treat others as we would want to be treated, that serving is superior to demanding to be served.

For those he loved and for what he knew to be true he willingly laid down his life.

What child is this? Once when he was near the end of his life he was alone with his closest followers. He began to talk with them about what they had picked up of peoples understanding of who he was. “Who do people say I am?” He queried “Well, some folk think you’re John the Baptist, whom Herod beheaded, or Elijah or some other prophet.” “But what about you?”Jesus pressed, “Who do you say that I am?”

It was Simon Peter who responded, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” What child is this? He came not to be served, he once said, but to serve and to give his life a ransom for many.

Giving his life away in love was the hallmark of his mission. He’s the one sent from God whose love inspires our concern for the neediest and most neglected among us. That love motivates every Salvation Army program as we seek to build a brighter and more hopeful future, especially for the children.

Recently, one of our Salvation Army workers serving in the most depressed area of a major city and distressed at the plight of the children, exclaimed: “What has our generation done that children have to live this way?” You help us keep hope alive for such youngsters and their families by sharing something of the joy of the Christmas season.

Thank you for your trust and participation. May God grant to you and yours the hope and joy of this blessed season as you experience for yourself the love of the Christ child and share it with others.

God bless you and Merry Christmas.

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