"Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."--(ST. JOHN i. 29.)
JESUS is no mere picture of innocence, but is very Innocence incarnate. A lamb and all other things innocent and pure are His picture.
That "Voice" which His sheep hear and know is a voice not of command merely but also of winning appeal. He invites us: "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." He urges us: "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink." He reproaches us: "Ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life." He pleads for us: "Lord, let it alone this year also." He probes our hearts: "Lovest thou Me?"
Well may we read how once even in the synagogue of Nazareth "the eyes of all . . . were fastened on Him. . . . And all bare Him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth."--"Full of grace are Thy lips."
And if lambs liable to sacrifice were contented and cheerful creatures (though they, indeed, in ignorance), surely "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" was far beyond such as they, contented and desirous in His self-sacrifice: "With desire I have desired," said He of the supper; and how not of the Passion? I once read a work concerning Holy Communion, devout in intention, but (as it struck me) laying stress of such a sort on our Lord's condescension and patience, as suggested that He Who willingly had lived and died for men now found it hard to put up with us sinners, and for our sake to secrete Himself in the Sacrament of his most Blessed Body and Blood. May I have misunderstood the tone of that book!
Lastly, if Christmas as we keep it in December be the actual season of our Lord's birth, then in that (as in the rest) He leaves lambs far behind Him, being born into this world at a more desolate moment than they. Earth at mid-winter is comparatively bare; leaves, blossoms and delights come back with spring.