Christmas Eve the night all children anticipate the arrival of Santa Claus bringing gifts galore. However, this night Someone even greater was making His entrance into the dark and obscure world of man.
God could have inserted Himself into our history in a monumental way. Most thought He would do that. Instead He came in an unassuming and humble way. Born in a place reserved for animals, a smelly, unclean shed.
There was no trumpet sound or brass band, no crown for the head of this King, only a bunch of shepherds, a most unusual and magnificent star of light in the dark night sky and a choir of angels. He was taking up a destiny He would learn of soon enough. His conception was unusual, but His birth was normal. He came into the world like you and I through the difficulty of human birth from a warm and secure place to the cold, night air; loud annoying sounds of animals braying and overwhelming, nauseating smells of reality.
In the process He became just like one of us, giving up all rights to the throne. Of course, He agreed to the plan before His seed was placed in an unmarried, untainted Jewish teenage girl with dreams of marrying her sweetheart and having children, but not this way, not before she was married.
The young couple, Mary nearly bursting with her heavenly burden, traveled a long distance. Being hut out of every possible place to stay they made their bed with the animals. It was there in the stillness of the night that Jesus, the baby that would save the world was born.
It was when He, the Light of the world, was born that Mary and Joseph first saw the star high in the night sky. They could almost hear a heavenly choir of angels singing, “Glory to God in the highest, Peace on earth.” And they smiled at the baby who did not cry.
When God decided to insert Himself into History, He chose His earthly parents carefully. Mary for her innocent and obedience; Joseph for his dedication, commitment and steadfast values. The earthly father had to be special. He was tasked with guiding the King of Kings to understand His destiny. For as a child He did not know who He would become. Yet His parents knew because they had been visited and told by the angels. An angel visitation — certainly not something one would soon forget.
Their assignment was to raise God’s only Son. Talk about destiny. Talk about learning parenting the hard way. What do you teach God?
Jesus did not come pre-programmed to save the world. He stepped into His destiny at the coaching of his parents. God the Father’s guiding hand was on Him, sure, just as God the Father’s guiding hand is on you and me.
He learned like other Jewish boys. When did He learn He was born of a virgin? Did His mother tell Him? Did God tell Him? Was in that talk that fathers have with sons that He was told? Did He know instinctively? Somewhere along the way, He learned that He was different. He was the Messiah. He was Light to a very dark world.
Scripture does not tell us when He learned these things. It only tells us that He gave up His rights as God to become fully human, born as a baby. And as a baby He had to be taught. And in the teaching He learned how to communicate with His heavenly Father and as He communed, God imparted to Him His destiny. And Jesus stepped into it.
Jesus is our guiding Light. How do we learn who we are? It first has to come by communicating with the Father, by learning our destiny from the Commander of destinies. And following Jesus’ example, even to death.
It sounds like a tall order. Let me submit, though, the end of the story. His flesh was crucified. He would go through pain and agony. He would be beaten, crushed, speared, spit on, mocked, hung on a cross, this beautiful little baby who came into the world like all babies.
Of course you know the ending and the reason He died. He had faith to believe in the plan. He had no prior embedded chip to know what He was to do. He was so tapped into God the Father that He followed His every move even to the darkness of His death.
Ah, but after death came the light. For He arose on the third morning, angels nearby shining gloriously. The world was made new at His resurrection to new life. He became the pure sacrifice for our failures and sins so that we might one day step over into paradise if we but accept Him as our Savior, this little baby who lived as a human, like me, like you.
What do we fear today? Ultimately we fear the darkness of death. The end of light. A cessation of existence. And yet when our time comes if we KNOW Jesus and are following Him, we also will be resurrected in the light of heaven.
These fears we have of doing whatever it is God is telling us to do are unnecessary. Whatever of this life we think is so important will become immaterial when we realize following Jesus is all that matters. He is the One who lights the darkness of what seems to be a dreary existence.
In the darkness we cannot see where to go. We need the Light to show us the way. In the Light things begin to make sense. We know where to go. We know where the path is. He gives us purpose and destiny and shines for us to see the way there.
We need only cry out, like we used to when we were kids and needed to get up at night. “Daddy, I’m scared.” And our father came and turned on the light so we could see where to go. Jesus is like that. He longs to hear us call out to Him and ask for the Light. He lives to light our path if we will but follow.
So tonight let’s not anxiously watch for the jolly fat man in the red suit. Let’s long to follow Jesus Christ, the baby, the man, the One who stepped into darkness to become our Light.
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