Two thousand years ago, here is some of what was occurring in the universe:
God the Father declared in Heaven that the fullness of time on earth had arrived – He sent His Son to us…with an unstoppable plan of rescue.
Supreme God would become fully human as the Creator entered into His own creation.
Chapter 1 of the mystery of the ages – God’s plan of deliverance, forgiveness, freedom & salvation – began to unfold before the eyes of mankind.
Eternity had entered into time, the invisible had become visible, and the Supreme God had submitted Himself to the human experience. The infinite became finite as evidenced in a baby’s cry ringing out in Bethlehem of Judea.
The vast expanse of heaven’s Paradise where the Son of God had reigned gave way to a No-Vacancy sign at the hour of His arrival. There was simply no place for Jesus to stay. The birds had their nests that first Christmas, and the foxes had their dens, but the Savior had no place to lay His head.
A throne of indescribable splendor where He once was seated in His glory was now exchanged for a used livestock feeding trough where He lay wrapped in the cheapest of cloth.
A brilliant star made by the Creator now shined over Him in the nighttime sky. Very few people on earth heralded His birth that day but that lone, bright star would not have its celestial praise silenced. Glorious angelic worship temporarily took a backseat to awkward shepherd’s – still dirty from the field – blue-collar praise.
A man named Joseph said little as he recalled the words of an angel whom he met nine months before who told him not to fear to wed Mary… and that the baby born to her would be Israel’s Messiah and Joseph’s Savior. The Eternal Sovereign Provider hungered as an infant to be fed… so that humble peasant girl – crowned with favor from God – nursed her King in a world that was forever changed.
At the birth of Jesus Christ, Satan cringed and then scowled and then with furious evil summoned his demonic host to spare no effort to destroy this child. Satan would not relent from this purpose of his, but the seeming fulfillment of this evil desire would not occur until 33 years later on a hill called Golgotha.
Yes, at Christmas we remember that The Creator entered into His creation with the full intention of living a life and dying a death that would secure eternity in glory for any who would trust Him. He came to love and He did so – loving us to death. He came to tell us the truth and He did so – knowing that some would refuse Him because He revealed what was in the hearts of people. While He was here He healed, He preached, He even sang, He prayed, He provided, He performed miracles, He pursued the outcasts and cast out the hypocrites. He made His kingdom about the substance of the heart rather than the conformity of outward appearances.
Nobody could ignore the powerful meekness of this One named Jesus. Nobody ever spoke like Him before. His wisdom stunned the educated and intellectual of His day while His simplicity relieved the intimidated and confused of His day. He took time for children, and He taught adults to become more like those children so that they might be qualified to partake of the Kingdom of God. Jesus redefined for mankind what Family was all about and exalted shared faith above shared DNA.
He pronounced forgiveness without checking with religious leaders about protocol. He wept over hard hearts that would not repent, and He compassionately loved those who walked away from Him because they trusted in uncertain riches. He called twelve unlikely men to follow Him in their clear imperfections and spent three years investing in them to lead His Kingdom after He left earth. When the dark night of His betrayal came, Jesus washed the feet of His enemy, Judas, and then called him a friend as Judas gave Him the most deceitful kiss the world has ever known. His humble birth ultimately gave way to His brutal death and, as the world was rejecting Him, Jesus prayed to the Father for our forgiveness. Unlike the day of His birth when a star had brilliantly shined, at about noon on the day of His death, the sun darkened and offered no light as mankind murdered his Maker.
The cry of a newborn baby became the cry of a sacrificial lamb.
Jesus dismissed His spirit from His body about 3 hours after the sun refused to shine, and He then partook of the final frontier of human experience: Jesus died. Both His entrance into earth and His exit from it were sovereignly planned moments and timed precisely according to the will of God. His death on the cross was no unforeseen misfortune but, rather, the pinnacle of His earthly purpose. A handful of loyal followers placed His dead body in a temporary tomb. Three days later Jesus Christ emerged from that tomb and God’s plan of forgiveness and redemption was complete. Jesus ascended back to His throne at the right hand of the Father where He sits today passionately presiding over the entirety of the universe.
We cannot fathom all there is concerning this baby who became a man, who died as a substitute and rose as a King. We do know one thing for certain however: we know that He came to this planet 2,000 years ago. One of the last things He said before He ascended back to glory was that He would be coming again.
“Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” – John 14:1-3