The General’s Christmas Message 2009

All my heart rejoices

by Shaw Clifton, General –

What a night! The night our Savior was born! A night to rejoice with all our hearts!

Sweet angel voices, sounding far and near, announced his birth: Christ is born! It was as though the entire sky announced this matchless message. Joy filled the air. Joy-bells still ring to hail his coming.

If we listen carefully, our ear attuned, we can still hear the holy baby’s first cry from the manger in Bethlehem. It is as though from birth he has been calling us, entreating, pleading with us to flee from the snares and dangers that await our souls. “Come to me,” he says. “Leave all that grieves and burdens you. I can offer freedom. I can give you all you need.”

So let us accept his divine invitation, you and I together. Let us do so without delay. He invites us all. He calls to the lowly and the great alike. We cannot impress him with our education or our income, so whoever we are we approach him together with awe and wonder as equals. He invites us to commit ourselves to him. He wants us to return the love he offers us all. The Christmas star, high and bright in the sky, is a hope-filled sign of divine love.

Coming to the newborn Christ-child is a signal that we have come to our senses. We come to him, deciding to live in obedience to him, and finding our hope of Heaven in him. He offers us the matchless prospect of living with him forever. Who else promises matchless joy both now and in all eternity?

For all these reasons my heart rejoices. Christ is born!

By General Shaw Clifton
with acknowledgements to Paulus Gerhardt (1607-76)
and The Song Book of The Salvation Army, No 73

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