In a few days, we will be celebrating the birth of Christ, Christmas 2021. On December 20, 1997, Eddie gave an account of what he witnessed in the years after his salvation, during the last teaching session of the Student Preachers Seminary. The following excerpt are his words without correction. I suggest you read it slowly and pause so you can feel the impact of this testimony. Eddy’s teachings penetrate the heart; the Lord somehow takes him to those marked places in time. Most teachers convey what they read and meditate on. He was able to ask, and the Lord showed him visually.
…” Years ago, when I began my walk with the Lord, I was very interested in Christmas. I read my books and listened to many Christmas stories. Christmas was my favorite time of the year, over any other holiday! I guess I am a child at heart! When I got saved and knew the Lord was within me, I wanted to know more. The Lord is faithful to this request; however, it takes a sincere heart when you ask that I might know you, Lord. That was my cry and still is my cry today. So many saints have had the same cry that I might know you, Lord. Over and over in their hearts, they cried, I want to know more about you. I had read the bible over and over, eighteen times when I was first got saved. I want all of you to see tonight that God will show you if you really want to know Him. Most of us want to know Him for a reason, like to be healed or for happiness and joy, for so many things. But here comes a time in your life when you just want to know Him for Himself. A simple unclouded desire to want to know Him for who He is. At Christmas Eve at Mass, this happened to me attending St. Mary’s Church. I was saved and had started a prayer meeting; it was about two years into my ministry when the cry to know the birth was so strong in my heart. Still in the Roman Church, filled with the Holy Spirit and leading others to Christ. The healing ministry was flourishing through me, but we did not have a way to receive communion. I usually went in the mornings to the Church to receive; there were enough in our area to find a mass.
I went to the Christmas Eve Service at St Mary’s, just a block walk away from us. The service was usually filled with people who had just come from family parties; alcohol could be smelled on many breaths of those who attended. You have to arrive early because seating was limited, and it was always packed. This was the service that people who attended a few times of the year came to. I sat on the St Joseph side; you either sat on St. Marys side or St Josephs.
It was here that the Lord answered my request to be able to see His birth. I don’t always share this with people because so many would not understand that this could happen and would think that I’m trying to glorify myself. Fr. Hordock was preforming the mass, at some point I felt as if I was falling asleep. I had become very lightheaded, and suddenly; I was gone and not there anymore. I saw the birth of Jesus! I had always thought He was born in a beautiful stable with straw, hayloft, and many stalls. I also thought about the climate being cold with winter snows. All these impressions were because of my upbringing and background. It was the cold of the land in which He was born. Those who had lived in Israel know that kind of coldness, the daytime heat suddenly changes into a damp coldness in the air.
I was appalled at the stable because I thought it would be one like I knew. Instead, it was a cave on the side of a hill. I thought, where is the Inn. The Lord showed me the small lodging at the foot of the hill. I realized they must have separated animals from where people stayed. I had approached the cave by walking in the hills. It wasn’t a place, I thought, where corn could not grow, it was more of hard clay soil. I approached the cave and then what appalled me was the stench I smelled. Being around the strong smell of urine my eyes watered up with the strong pungent odor. I was expecting some sublime vision, saying to myself, is this it? I remember coming home from the Church that night and that scent stayed with me for weeks; it could not be washed away. Mary and Joseph must have been used to it because they did not have the same physical reaction I had.
I could not see very well because there weren’t electric lights like we are used to. There was a fire, and the smoke went up through a hole in the cave near the entrance. It did not go out right away; it filled the atmosphere.
When my eyes cleared, I saw Joseph whom I had always thought was an old man. He was about 28 or 29, and I remember his facial expressions. He appeared to be someone who had just received terrible news. He was busy trying to make a bed out of straw. The straw was not at all clean as manure from the animals was in it. I thought to myself, this can’t be the birth of Christ, I’m in the wrong place. Then the Lord said to me, “you’re not going to praise me?” I said, yes, Lord, I praise you, but didn’t really mean it.
I saw animals in the cave; they were in stalls; the stalls were ropes with pegs driven into the ground to hold them. I saw sheep, and a cow outside the cave entrance; I saw a donkey that I would have never been able to ride, too small. I thought to myself, Mary had to walk because the donkey was tiny. I could see fires dotted all over the hill where people were gathered, huddled for warmth. It literally seemed like they made their beds on the hillside, today it’s called Shepherds Field. The people were gathered, you could smell smoke and see fire and the stars lit up the night sky.
I watched Joseph dig a hole in the cave, it took great effort because the ground was hard. Then alongside the bed of straw, he took out a small tripod with a pot and he began to heat water. Mary was nothing like I saw in statues, golden crowns, diamonds, and white robes; her garment was brown and stained. Her hair was loose and pulled back. Mary’s eyes moved me with the look of surrender. She wanted to help Joseph, but he kept telling her to stay quiet. I can’t say that I saw anything out of the ordinary, just looking at Mary, but within her was something strong. I saw what the Word of God can do in a person, how it made Mary the submissive mother of the Son of God! I will never forget; she was concerned but not like Joseph. He was fumbling; he was doing what needed to be done. Later, I learned it was against Jewish law for him to be touching Mary because women were considered unclean during birth. In this circumstance there was no midwife to be found; he was following something he had done with animals, not with children. I had watched my mother deliver babies; Joseph did not have the same posture.
This is how Mary delivered, she squatted over the hole that Joseph had dug. I was expecting a surgical knife; I don’t know why; Joseph had a flint knife. I expected Him to be covered with gold; but didn’t really know how he would appear. Joseph cleaned the baby Jesus and tied the umbilical cord using a string of lamb’s wool. Then he opened some type of container that which was used to wipe the baby’s eyes out.
This is what I want to leave you with, from the moment His head appeared that cave was bathed in light. That moment the glory of heaven came down upon the ear earth! This was God’s Son! He was not just an ordinary child. It was God himself visiting His people. At that moment, I realized how much God loves us! He would come to us as a child, so helpless, with tiny little fingers and body. I’m telling you that I saw that God’s glory is not with the appearance, but within the spirit. Suddenly the night that had been so dark has now been replaced by a magical light. Now I could identify with the animals, Mary, and Joseph more clearly. The baby Jesus was holding the light within himself. It shone out from the cave, giving light to the whole hillside. Even those around the campfires were startled by the light. Now I understood how the shepherds had followed that light. The light was not issuing from above, but from the Child of Bethlehem. The light shone on the Gentile and the Jew; and came into the world that night, which will never be extinguished. I realized how limited the devil is, and counterfeit he is. He can never be that light, never! The wise men found Him by traveling toward the source of the light. I was looking for a star or a planet somewhere in the sky, but now I know they saw a supernatural light, a preview of what would be revealed on the night of His birth. The eternal Spirit of Christmas.
Luke 2:11, “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”