"How many kings, stepped down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
How many Gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that has torn all apart?
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?
Only one did that for me"
~"How Many Kings" by Downhere
As we near the celebration of Christ’s birth our journey through the Christmas story continues, the next characters that come to mind are the good citizens of Bethlehem and the shepherds living out in the fields nearby. Were they ready for the strike of fame that was about to descend on their small town? Did they recognize the Christ child for who He is—the promised Messiah? And what were the thoughts of the shepherds as they witnessed the angelic chorus?
In our culture dominated by media and popular opinion, celebrities and royalty are lifted up and idolized. I remember a few years ago when every magazine was covering the wedding of William and Kate—the royal couple of England. Our world is obsessed with individuals and couples of fame and fortune, super stars and royals; however, there was one royal couple that the world completely missed. They were not pictured on the front page of The Bethlehem Times nor interviewed on national news; they were not welcomed with a parade or put up in a five star hotel; instead, they were turned out of the only inn available and sent to live in a dirty, cold, smelly, stable. They were royal not by right of birth nor surge of fame and popularity, but because of whom they raised—the King of kings.
Can you guess the couple I am referring to?
How apt were these words of Elizabeth! Mary, indeed, was blessed. She was chosen to be the mother of Israel’s promised Messiah! While just a humble peasant girl with no formal education, Mary was asked to do the impossible—carry and deliver the Son of God while yet a virgin—and as we saw last week, she did not question the Lord’s calling but obeyed and was honored to be called “mother” by the Creator of the world. So yes, blessed is she who believed the word of the Lord!
Creator became part of His creation.
Eternal one stepped into time.
God became man.
Immanuel, God with us.
The gravity of sacrifice displayed in the incarnation is beyond our finite comprehension. It’s like ants trying to follow computer coding; it’s impossible. However, for us to truly understand the significance and meaning of Christmas, we must ponder and try to grasp what God did so many years ago.
In the land of ancient Israel, after four hundred years of silence, God re-enters history in a big way. He sent an angel to visit two people, a man serving in the Holy of Holies and a teenage girl in Nazareth. Who was this man and girl, and of what importance do they have in the story of Christmas?
As we enter into this season of Advent, the awe-inspiring realization that the Creator God lowered Himself and became a part of His creation through the person of Jesus Christ washes over me anew. But do we truly comprehend the significance of this historical event?
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