Malankara World

 

     A Wonderful Night: An Interpretation of Christmas

By James H. Snowden


V. Simplicity of the Narrative

Though surcharged with such tremendous meaning, carrying a heavier burden of news than was ever before committed to human language, yet the simplicity with which the story is told is one of the literary marvels of the gospels. This event has inspired poets and painters and has been embroidered and illuminated with an immense amount of ornamentation. Genius has poured its splendors upon it and tried to give us some worthy conception of the scene. But the evangelists had no such purpose or thought, and their story is told with that charming artlessness that is perfect art. They were not men of genius, but plain men, mostly tax collectors and fishermen untrained in the schools, with no thought of skill or literary art. Yet all the stylists and artists of the world stand in wonder before their unconscious effort and supreme achievement. No attempt at rhetoric disfigures their record, not a word is written for effect, but the simple facts are allowed to tell their own eloquent and marvelous tale. The inspired writers mixed no imagination with their verities, for they had no other thought than to tell the plain truth; and this gives us confidence in the trustworthiness of their narrative. These men did not follow cunningly devised fables when they made known unto us the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, for they were eye-witnesses of his glory.

 

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