The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
One of my favorite childhood Christmas memories is setting out our Nativity set. My mom kept it wrapped in old newspapers and carefully packed away in a box most of the year. But in late November we would lug the Christmas decoration boxes out of storage and I would scan them all until I found the one marked “nativity.” It was as if the Christmas season couldn’t really begin until the Nativity scene was in place!
Our Nativity’s home for the holiday was perched atop our old player piano. I would carefully unwrap the pieces, one by one, and climb the piano bench to set each piece in its place. The wise men, the shepherds, Joseph and Mary, an angel, and even a few sheep and cows would find their places first. Then the manger would be placed in its position. Lastly, I would dig through the paper to find the smallest package in the box – baby Jesus. Placing Jesus in the manger among all the other pieces was my favorite part. It was as if all the other pieces were just waiting for Jesus to arrive. Truthfully, more than 2000 years ago – they were! Each one anticipated the arrival of God’s Promised One. A King like none other before Him! Upon His arrival all present would bow in worship of this tiny new King.
Sometimes I wonder if in that moment those who gathered to worship the newborn King Jesus sensed the magnitude of what Jesus had come to do. Did they know that Jesus would change everything? Could they see and feel God’s grace, His gift of truth and His redemption, wrapped up in that little boy before them? Were they aware of the depth of God’s love for His creation that would move God to make His home on earth? Maybe they only caught a glimpse of what would come, but perhaps that’s what drove them to their knees in worship so many years ago.
The beauty and depth of Scripture allows us to know that those truths still are valid for us today. Jesus came full of grace and full of truth to display God’s love for you and me – to redeem us for Himself. The moment certainly doesn’t need to be lost on us. Maybe today, as we celebrate His arrival so many years ago, we can bow in worship for all that He has done and rejoice in hope as we await His return.
God, from the very beginning everything You did from creation to the cross, was to show us Your amazing love. All of that love was wrapped up and given to us in Your Son. What a gift! Help us to be mindful of that today amid the Christmas dinners and torn wrapping paper. As we celebrate Your gift of redemption and salvation today, help us to set our hearts’ focus on the hope of Your return. We await Your arrival again with great anticipation and joy! Amen.