What if instead of imagining Jesus entering into our world, we would imagine walking into the first Christmas with Him. Where would we be? Who would we be?
As you enter, no really picture yourself walking there, would have already been watching? Would you be an ally of Simeon? Or would it have happened without your life changing at all?
We put so much emphasis on what really was probably missed by most. Life was pretty much happening the way it always had. It was harsh by our standards. It was mundane.
Who did get the word? Mary and Joseph had been told, warned if you will. Imagine for a moment what you would do with that knowledge. Who could you tell? Everyone thinks their baby is special, but isn’t just going a little far to call Him the Son of God?
Who else heard? Some shepherds out in the field taking care of their sheep. They were working. Whoever heard of God showing up at work? (Pardon me while I pull my tongue out of my cheek.) Stinky, not very well-thought of third shift workers got the news flash from an army choir of angels. God did not come on the scene with a: pssst, can I have your attention, please? Ah, no. He came with a blindingly bright (there’s no way to exaggerate this enough) light and a hugely huge choir.
Now, they must not have anticipated their fright level because the first words were, Don’t be afraid. Right. Who are you kidding? Most of those boys needed new pants and right now! To say the least, God had their attention. They knew what they should have been looking for. They just probably didn’t even imagine that God would bring the good news to them first. But they believed it and they ran—all the way to the stable to find their Messiah.
I wonder how perplexed they were to see the young couple with a baby. Sure, they had heard, well sort of, what the angel said, but maybe there was a glitch in the transmission. God knew what they needed. They needed a savior now. They needed God’s promise now. And what they found was a baby. Were any of them disappointed? Confused? Or had their minds and hearts been so touched by God coming to them, stinky shepherds, that they found a new level of trust and belief in the continuingly unfolded plan and promise of God. I believe there was some change, because I don’t read that they went away discouraged.
The only one who seems discouraged in the story is Herod. He got the news after the fact. Seemingly, way after the event, Scripture says that some time later the sages went to the house. And, I’m not sure he was as much discouraged as insulted and enraged and many innocent lives were lost as a result of his jealous anger.
Now after reading this, I bet you can’t wait to hear my take on “Emmanuel” and God being with us as an us (corporate) and us as a bunch of individuals together. But you’ll just have to.