Sunday it suddenly dawned on me that we are in the run up to Christmas! No, it’s not like I didn’t know, after all at church we’ve been preparing for weeks, but rather in the busyness of life I hadn’t realised it was that close – I mean, that close!
I wonder whether it was a bit like that that first Christmas, everyone was going about their daily routines as one day followed another, even as one year followed another. Of course it hadn’t happened yet, so it wasn’t on the annual calendar, nevertheless they had the prophetic promise, a promise that had been passed on from one generation to another, the promise of a Saviour. And O, how they longed and prayed for that day when he would come. But hey, life goes on, living and hoping, hoping and living, and you can get lost in it and not realise where you’ve got to, or what’s going on.
Now I’m guessing that they really didn’t have that much idea either on what that would look like as they had no previous experience, so when the promise finally came to pass they were just going about the usual business of the day, and then….. when he does turn up he looks like the rest of us, a vulnerable little baby, dependent in every way on his mother and father.
I mean, in many ways it was so ordinary, too ordinary – could this be God? In fact it was so ordinary it needed angels to announce the fact that this was not just another child just like every other one, but the Child, the promised One, the prayed for and longed for Saviour. Life didn’t pause or wait for everyone to get all spiritual, feel right good and ready, no, suddenly in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Eastern life he made his appearance, he was born – fact. Not in a synagogue, or at the Temple, or some other religious setting, not even the comfort of a home, but a simple stable. I mean what a way to wrap a present!
I wonder how many today are going about this Christmas, not realising where they are at, and missing the fact that he has come – not as superman or some powerful macho all conquering hero, but as a vulnerable little baby who cried (Yes, I don’t think ‘Away in a Manger’ is correct on this point!), and was as dependent as we were on those around him when we first entered this world. Nevertheless he is none other than the Promised One, the longed for Saviour and we don’t need to wait for another. He has come, and he came ‘veiled in flesh.’