“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:10-14)
In France, there is a traditional Christmas dessert known as La Bûche de Noël (“la byOOsh duh noEL” – a Christmas log). Have you ever seen a bûche de Noël? Also known as “a yule log,” the bûche is not really a log at all. It is a chocolate sponge cake with cream filling (or a chocolate ice cream cake) that is made to look like a log ready to be put into a fireplace.
Like many traditions, it is hard to be sure exactly how the tradition of the bûche de Noël began in the first place. But one story goes like this:
Back in the early 1800s, Napoleon I was ruling France. Doctors back then had not learned yet about some things that doctors know now, in the 21st century. Napoleon was told that cold air can cause illness. So he made a law, saying it was for the good of the people, and he made everyone in the city of Paris obey it.
What was this “good” law? Because cold air might come down into their houses through the chimneys, Napoleon declared that nobody could use their fireplaces during winter. Everybody had to seal off their chimneys so no cold air could get in. The problem was that no smoke could get out, either. The people were not able to use their fireplaces to keep their homes warm. This story is a little silly, if it is really true. The people had to endure cold air, anyway, both outside and inside their homes!
Not only did the Parisian homes have to go without heat, but many of the Christmas traditions back then involved family and friends sitting around the fireplace. They would tell stories and play games in front of the fire. To help spread Christmas cheer, the Parisian bakers created a fake substitute for a fireplace – a cake decorated to look like a log for the fireplace. So the families in Paris would buy a bûche de Noël and set it on the table. Instead of spending time around the fire together at Christmas, they spent time around the bûche de Noël (in their freezing cold houses!).
Napoleon was not a perfect ruler. He made mistakes, and there were some things he could not have known. Aren’t you glad that God knows everything and never makes mistakes? When God reveals good news to us, we can always trust that it really is for our good. When God sent a great angel to announce the birth of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the angel told the shepherds exactly where the Baby could be found, and exactly how they would find Him – wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. Not only that, but the angel made it very clear that this baby Jesus Christ was born to be the Savior! The Bible records how a whole crowd of angels joined this one, singing “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
Now, that is good news! And because it was God Who sent these angelic messengers, and because it was God Who included their message in His Word for us to read today, we can be sure that this good news truly is good news. The angel’s announcement of “good will toward men” was nothing like the “good” law that Napoleon announced to his kingdom (a law which really wasn’t very “good,” after all). God’s news is reliable (trustworthy). God always speaks truth. He never makes mistakes about His own glory and our own good. Unlike a decree from some human king, the word of the God of the universe is trustworthy. The shepherds went and found Jesus exactly as they had been promised. We too can find Jesus Christ to be exactly Who God said He is: the Savior!
We can trust that God’s Word is really true and really for our good.
» Have I been doubting God’s Word about something?
» Is there a promise that God has given that I have forgotten and need to remember?
» How can I show that I believe God’s Gospel (good news) about Jesus Christ?