At the time of His coming, Heaven’s throne room must have echoed with praise and excitement. They were sending off their King. His quest would forever change human history. The mission must not fail.
Jesus was leaving them for a season. He was exchanging the robes of eternity for the flesh of humanity, for the body of a baby boy. He would trade His heavenly palace for a stable, His royal throne for a feed trough, the unsurpassed beauty and glory of His eternal home for a slowly dying ball of rock and water we call home.
But make no mistake, though Jesus’ form changed, His dwelling scaled down, His glory cloaked in human flesh, He was still the Kings of kings. He was coming not to be changed but to bring change. He was coming to open the small gate of the narrow road which would bring those yet saved to the place He would prepare for them.
Who was the baby born that night? We know His name – Jesus and His title Christ (Messiah) and His work to seek and save the lost. But who was He?
“Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”
Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” (Revelation 5:11-13)
Who is He? The Apostle John wrote, “The next day John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29
Who is He? Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
Who is He? You are invited to come and see Him; to come and find your answer.
The angel proclaimed it boldly, “Do not be afraid” he said to a group of terrified shepherds. But how could they not be afraid? This was not a nightly occurrence for them. How does one prepare for something like this?
Did you know that sixty-three times in Scripture God says “Fear Not”? How can we not be afraid? “Father this world is a scary place. Where I live is the scariest place. How can I not be afraid?”
The answer is in the angel’s words: “For unto you is born this day in the City of David, a Savior who is Christ the Lord.” The Lord, the Messiah, the One sent to save.
Are you still afraid? Could it be you’ve forgotten who to trust? Have you taken your eyes off the One we worship? When we take our eyes off Christ, when He is not in front where He should be, in a place we can see Him, where He is our shield, our lives become scary and our hearts and minds shaky, and fear enters in.
The baby born is Immanuel, God with us. Christ is God’s perfect love given to man and perfect love casts out all fear. Being in His presence pushes away fear.
How can you come into His presence? King David wrote: Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in His holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not set his mind on what is false, and who has not sworn deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” (Psalm 24:3-5)
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6) Jesus is the way our hands and heart and mind can be clean again.
The birth of Christ without the cross is a curiosity at best. The angels knew this; they knew the plan. They knew He was the Messiah. They knew the animal that clothed Adam and Eve, the ark that saved Noah and his family, the Passover Lamb that set Israel free were all pictures of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
All of Heaven knew, but we didn’t. We would need to wait thirty years and move from Bethlehem’s manger, six miles north, to Jerusalem, to Calvary’s cross. But now we know and now the manger had meaning – there was purpose. The purpose was the cross. The cross brought forgiveness, the empty grave victory over death and hope beyond for we know He is coming back. Jesus said so Himself, “I go to prepare a place for you and will come back for you.”
How can this be true? What evidence that this is possible? At the empty tomb, the angel told the women, “I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here! For He has been resurrected, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell His disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead.’” (Matthew 28:5-6)
So the story is told again. Our challenge – hear it like it was the first time. Watch the drama unfold. Listen to the first Christmas that quietly exploded across creation as the angels pronounced His birth. Do you hear it? Listen again as He calls from the cross for our forgiveness. Do you hear it? And when the stone was rolled away from a garden tomb to show us it was empty. Do you hear it?
Now we wait for the trumpet to sound. Will you hear it? That’s when the story closes only to open a new story, an endless one in the place Jesus has gone to prepare for all who are His; a place of joy, peace and worship, where we will join with all the others there: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”