I’ll try and make this quick, because I know you all have a lot to do. A lot of shopping. A lot of wrapping. A lot of eating. But I want to tell you my version of the story-the Christmas story. But before I go to that beginning, let me start at another one.
I remember when the Trinity first made mankind. Guys it was amazing. Now God had always been perfectly whole, perfectly joyful, and perfect content-but oh my goodness, when he made man…what delight we saw in his eyes. He loved humans the way he loved himself-perfectly, and we as angels had never seen anything so beautiful before. We watched your relationship unfold. We were angry along with God when you betrayed him in the garden. We thought for sure He would give you what you justly deserved-banishment just like he gave to Lucifer. But instead, He showed you guys mercy. We didn’t really understand it. We didn’t get WHY He loved and forgave you guys time and time again but, He did…and well, you know He still does. Anyway, we watched history happen up close. We heard of His plan for redemption and rejoiced at His feet over His immense love for you all. For hundreds of years we both ministered and observed the human population. We saw kings and kingdoms rise and fall, we watched prophet’s hearts break right along with God’s as mankind rejected the abundant life that He offered them.
I’ll never forget the day that Michael called us all together for an announcement. He told us how he just spoken with Our Righteous Lord and soon He was going to send the Messiah and start the ball rolling on the salvific plan for his people. We cheered; all of heaven erupted in joy! Finally, after all this time, and at the perfect time, God was going to reconcile the people whom He loves so dearly to Himself. No longer will their sin get in the way. The Messiah would be a sacrifice for all their sins!
We read the Scriptures. We know them. We knew that the government would be on his shoulders! We knew what the Chosen One would be called-Emmanuel, Prince of Peace, Mighty Counselor! We knew he would be born in Bethlehem, and would spend a season of his life in Egypt, but, of course, we didn’t know HOW God was going bring all of this to fruition, or WHO would fulfill all of the prophesies. We had been watching David’s descendants, always wondering, “Is this who God will choose?” “Maybe this son will finally be the one!” We had been wondering how it will happen. A couple of us shouted out some of our thoughts. “Can we all ride as an army announcing his arrival?” Some shouted words of praise “Glory to God in the Highest!” I asked if we could ride down in chariots of fire, because that would be awesome! An angel beside me reminded us of some of the prophesies saying, “I’ll bet he’ll be just like David-that’s why they’ll call him King! Isaiah 53 says he’ll be buried with the rich-that probably means he’ll come from a rich family!” and on and on we went. We were giddy, to say the least.
Then Michael silenced us all.
He took a deep breath, and smiled at us. He reminded us how creative and loving and good our God is. We all knowingly agreed. We would never argue that fact; why was he reminding us of that?
“Our God’s plan, since the dawn of time is now being revealed. And that plan is…that the Messiah…is going to be…”
We were all on the edge of our celestial seats; just say it Michael!
“God the Son.”
God the Son?
Had we misheard Michael?
That can’t be! We all began shouting. “But Psalms says the Messiah will be forsaken by God! God cannot forsake himself!” “And Isaiah says that he’ll be crucified with criminals-that CANNOT HAPPEN TO OUR GOD. We can’t allow that!” “ They will hate him! They will kill him! This can’t be! Why?”
Michael nodded in understanding. After all, not 24 hours earlier we were all worshiping that very God that now supposedly is going to be sent to earth. Ug. Earth. It’s a horrible place! I mean, I know it is incredible and God loves its inhabitants, and I do too…it’s just…here in Heaven-He is in all his glory. He is worshiped perfectly, He is adored rightfully, and He is honored ever single moment of eternity. How could He give this up to go to those people? Knowing what would happen? Choose someone else. Why him?!
Michael told us, “You shouldn’t be so surprised. Think about it. Think about how deep the Father’s love for mankind is. He is willing to give himself over to them. Think about what it will mean to them, for the Messiah to be God. To be perfect. To be willing to lay down his life so that they may live. There is no more beautiful, perfect plan of salvation. My friends, this way, God’s way, is the most brilliant pinnacle part of his story to redeem his beloved humans to himself. Rejoice in its beauty.”
We thought about it in silence for a few minutes, and quickly and clearly began to see the depth of beauty in God’s plan. We just couldn’t believe it. It’s almost too incredible for us to comprehend. But then again, that is our God. He is unfathomably loving, and incomprehensibly perfect in his planning.
We asked if we could give him a proper entrance into earth when the time came for him to go. We knew that mankind, no offense, would not recognize the magnitude of this humility and beauty of this decision-but we would and we can. Can we tell every king and ruler and philosopher to prepare their hearts for the Messiah is finally coming? Can we fill the sky telling every living creature that God has displayed His power and majesty and glory this night and command them to praise and worship Him? Michael told us that God was a few steps ahead of us (as always!) and that the Holy Spirit was already working on and in the hearts of a handful of kings in the east, but other than that, the only people we were to announce glory to as the multitude, were…wait for it…shepherds.
I almost, almost, laughed out loud-because, that is so wonderfully typical of God. He has a legion of angels that specialize in worshipping him flawlessly and could spread the news of his plan in perfect glory, but he would rather the world of man be told of his entrance by…shepherds. Shepherds! Michael told us a few other quick snippets of God’s plan in using PEOPLE, ordinary HUMANS to worship and proclaim Him-old and young, rich and poor. His incredible love for people never ceases to amaze me.
So that night we left heaven and appeared in the sky to the shepherds and proclaimed God’s good news and glory. The Savior had been born. The long awaited Messiah had come. But he was far more than any of us could have ever thought or imagined. He was God himself. I had never experienced such full joy and love for my God. I didn’t know it was possible to think MORE highly of Him, or be MORE floored at his creative love, humility, and perfection. I think sometimes because you guys didn’t get to live the story like I did, you humans, forget the magnitude of WHO the Messiah is. When you look at that baby in the manger, please don’t forget that that baby, is the second part of the Godhead. Don’t forget that he who was once clothed in righteousness and splendor chose to shackle himself to the most limiting of earthly flesh-that of an infant. The God who formed the first tongue and created it to speak, now babbles and coos to demonstrate his great love for mankind. Please, I beg you, out of respect and adoration for your Savior and my creator, please do not minimize what he did for you. That night in the feeding trough was a long way from his throne in heaven and his first step to the cross. Never forget that. Worship him during Christmas because the beauty of the incarnation was a stepping stone to pay for your salvation. And He did it in the most beautiful, most humble, most glorious, glory-less, way. Because for some reason or another, He loves mankind more deeply than any mind, including angelic ones, can comprehend. It is certainly an understatement to say he deserves your gratitude and your worship, but give Him all you’ve got this season. Merry Christmas.