Peering eyes barely opened, recognized his mother from a bed of straw. He squirmed, tentatively exploring his world, not knowing it would so soon reject him or that for it, he would lay down his life. Yet to discover what in eternity he knew, that he was the Savior-Sovereign, he whimpered as any infant would and cried out for suckle. So vulnerable was the Son of God, so frail the Son of Man and we did esteem him stricken, smitten, afflicted by God.
Crucified from the foundations of the earth, he emptied himself of glory. Yet, glory pursued him. He took on the form of a servant as angels stood by awaiting his slightest summons. He subjected himself to temptation, but shunned sin. He walked among men as a man, but his divinity could not be hidden. He prayed as we must pray and taught us in so doing to embrace the kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. There he lay, a bundle of need who had hitherto known no need. Packaged in his person, the potent possibilities of reconciliation and redemption.
Here lay an offering, wiggling beneath swaddling clothes, wrapped up and carefully placed under every family's tree.
Here lay the concentrated reality of all God's love for humankind.
Here was a promise fulfilled, a hope realized, a purpose unfolding before our very eyes - and we esteemed him not.
How we have marginalized this child. How we have assigned him but a season of sentimental reflection and generalized good wishes. How we have misunderstood, misrepresented, or misappropriated the meaning of his coming. God manifest, he was and is and nothing less. Emmanuel - more than a pleasant sounding melody - is the miracle of incarnation. God is, absolutely, irrevocably, undeniably, and unambiguously, with us.
A child - weak and hungry – he was born into a world without incubators or Pampers or formula. He was born into a world of high infant mortality with an elevated threat on the Herodian horizon. For each who welcomed him, there were companies of soldiers seeking to snuff out his life. Soon to be on the run, a fugitive from his own people, he would return again and again and ultimately in a final show of death-defying atonement.
He is the Lord we laud, the Master we magnify, and the Savior we salute on this night of nights. We have no gold, frankincense nor myrrh to bring as acts of homage. We bring empty hands extended toward him that he might fill them with his own gifts. We fall down before him and worship with broken and joyful hearts, celebrating the power of the pregnant paradox - they that sow in tears shall reap in joy.
Gaze upon him in wonder this night. Sing to him a lullaby of praise. O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore him, O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord.