“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Ps. 118:24). This is the dawn of a great light casting out all darkness, a light shining upon all nations and people, all tribes and races. Joy has increased. A child is born. A Son is given. Finally and forever, the Prince of Peace has gained a foothold.
But look! There is no place for the child, for his mother, for his adoptive father (Luke 2:7). Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the infant of peace is placed in a feeding trough amid the cold night air. Demons and dictators threaten, but Christ prevails, wrapped in the bands of his mother’s love and protected by a secret and powerful providence. This tiny infant, this frail being, is an image of the invisible God. God has come down to be among us. He who is in the bosom of the Father is now in the belly of the world (John 1:18).
His time will be filled with trial and sorrow. He will carry the yoke of every burden crushing the oppressed, a beam across his shoulders. He will feel the sting of the rod (Isa. 9:4). He will be broken, wounded, cut off, accursed, and given to the elements and wild beasts, and yet — and yet — invisible angels will minister to him, and he will pour out healing and hope, forgiveness, and the promise of a new being. The story is over. The story is old. It happened so long ago.
Jesus, who is in the bosom of the Father, has revealed/explained/made known (John 1:18). Translators supply the object: “he has made God known.” “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). The infant Jesus is a revelation of the Father. To use creedal language, he is truly God and truly human, and so there is no end to what may be said of him, no end to the praise justly given to him. There was not when he was not, which is an old way of saying the story is always new. In every moment of every day, Jesus rests in the bosom of the Father, and he rests too in the center of every welcoming soul.
And he is put on the earth whose foundation he is, for he called all things into being. So, the heavens are glad, the earth rejoices, the seas roar and all that is in them, the fields exalt, the trees tremor in witness to his coming (Ps. 96:11-12). There is “a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors’” (Luke 2:13-14). Creation groans for redemption, witnessing to its redeemer.
Can a child’s story be true? Will a child lead them? Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. “God chose what is foolish, what is weak, what is low and despised, things that are not” (1 Cor. 1:27-28). She pondered the lowliness of her estate, a handmaid of the Lord. In time, we will each feel our folly, reckon with our weakness, feel cast away and forgotten. The Christian gospel is a lowly Christ in the midst of human lowliness.
Only by going to such depths of love can God show that he gave his Son for the life of the entire world, a love poured out like the waters that cover the sea.
Look It Up
Read Isa. 9:5. The Prince of Peace is the end of war.
Think About It
Eye hath seen, and yet not seen.