December 25, 2006
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you, He is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2.10-11
Today is born to you…
A few weeks back, we celebrated my son’s birthday, and as mothers are inclined to do, I remembered. The evening he was born was not exactly my finest hour – or maybe it was – but the evening was definitely not my idea of a fun way to spend Saturday night, which is the night he was born. Just moments after his birth, and after screaming the entire time he was being weighed and measured, my brand new son was laid in my arms. He was bare minutes old, his head still elongated from birth and not yet cleaned, and his dark, murky eyes blinked up at me in stunned confusion as if to say, ‘I know that did not just happen!’ I do not know what every other mother thinks when she first looks at her newborn baby, particularly her firstborn, but I looked back into his tiny, blinking eyes, and thought, ‘Oh my word, I’ve given birth to an over-sized rat!’ Not exactly an auspicious beginning…
When I hear the story of Jesus’ birth, I remember back to that moment when I met my son. The image is of the Baby Jesus lying in His mother’s arms and waking to the world. The Son of God, ‘the only-begotten, Light of light, True God of true God,’ peering up at His young mother, blinking His eyes in bewilderment and pondering, ‘So, this is what flesh feels like…’. God Incarnate – God in the flesh.
There He sat on His throne, surrounded by glory and honor, adored by angels and archangels, the cherubim and the seraphim attending at every second, and He submitted to be born in the flesh to the young girl, Mary. As a defenseless and helpless Baby, the One through whom all things were made, the Word that came forth and created, blinked up at His mother as if to say, ‘I am here; I have come to save the world.’ Not exactly an auspicious beginning for Him either.
The ancient verse stirs my imagination: Rank on rank the host of heaven spreads its vanguard on the way, as the Light of light descends to the realms of endless day. Christ our God to earth descends; our full homage to demand.
The host of heaven – the angels and archangels, cherubim and seraphim – pour forth from heaven and spread throughout the earth to lead the advance and prepare the way as the Light, to which all other light is but a shadow, descends to a tiny stable in the nether regions of Judea in an ancient century populated by unenlightened people. The Son of God, Who reigned in endless day, Who was and is and ever shall be, humiliated Himself and was born where animals feed in the darkness of the night. How high and deep and wide is such a love that comes to us so tenderly, so gently, so vulnerably?
And yet, we are very afraid. We fear that God will reject us; we fear that God will forget us; we fear that God doesn’t care about our interests; we fear that God will find us wanting and insufficient; we fear that God sees every time we fail. All of those things are true, you know. We live forgettable lives with insignificant and selfish interests, insufficient and unworthy of divine love, as failures in this moment or the last or perhaps the next to come. So it is to us that the angel speaks, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good tidings of great joy… a Savior has been born to you.”
For all that we are, and for all that we are not, the Savior has come – gently and tenderly, without intimidation or threat, blinking in wonderment and love as His gaze pierces each human heart, ‘I am here; I have come to save you, to invite you into the Light that pours forth from My very Soul.’
Do not be afraid. Rejoice! The Light of light, True God of True God, has humiliated Himself and come to you, bringing you a salvation of infinite and everlasting love, life and light. Lift up your eyes and see, the heavenly host are singing to you, “Peace! Peace on earth! His favor rests on you.”
Christ the Lord has been born to you. Merry Christmas.
In Christ –
Ó Servants’ Feast Ministry, 2006