Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared…
Ever notice how suddenly the ordinary can become extraordinary? Moses experienced that one morning when he left his tent to go out and push sheep around the back side of the Midian desert. The status and glitter days in Egypt were a distant memory, but on this day, just an average day in an average place, God showed up in a burning bush and radically redirected his life. Amazing.
Same thing happened to Paul as he galloped on his “high horse” toward Damascus, jaw set and eyes aflame with anger. Who would’ve expected that the Jesus he hated, would physically appear and literally knock him off the horse? Amazing. More of the same with David, Esther, Ruth, Rebecca, and Abraham; all of them experienced unexpected invasions of God that changed everything.
But it was in Bethlehem, in a manger, on a clear Judean night, that God painted His greatest, most magnificent masterpiece. He made His first public appearance, not as a celebrity, but as a baby. The star witnesses were barnyard animals, and some lowly shepherds. Angels in the sky sang the first Christmas carols. Kings mounted their horses and galloped westward. Herod paced the floor and worried. Joseph nervously assisted with the delivery. Moments later, Mary looked at God and oohed and aahed as she pondered a boatload of Bible prophecies and promises.
Amazing? You bet. The Jewish people wanted a deliverer who would drive a dagger into the heart of Rome. Instead, God sent a chubby little baby who would someday die on the Cross for our sins. Rome would pierce Him, and, in the process, save the world.
The whole deal will forever fascinate me, this whole thing called Christmas. The matchless creativity. The intricate detail. The utter simplicity. Such a perfect picture, even today, of this inexplicable thing called… the love of God. Hush! Shhhhh… can you hear the Baby cry? Listen! Can you hear God sigh? Can you see Mary beaming, the angels gleaming? Glory to God in the Highest, they said, peace on earth, good will toward men. Amazing. Just Amazing.