It is impossible for me to appreciate even a fragment of what grandeur and glory Jesus turned His back on for my rescue. Hints of His home are given to us with words we recognize on earth: diamonds, pearls, onyx, sapphires and more. Pavements made of gold so pure it is described as translucent. Rivers of life, trees bearing healing fruit, a throne room surrounded by a rainbow that shines like an emerald, many important books and continual beautiful music fill His home.
Willingly He left all of that for me.
The Christmas story is one with a happy ending, but there are unpleasant and even disturbing details we dare not overlook if we have any desire to find meaning in our monthlong celebrations. The desperate search for a room: was Mary already in labor riding that donkey, anxiety growing that no place would be found? A first birth with no midwife, no doctor, no sterile conditions: were both Mary and Joseph afraid she might die as so many young mothers did? And Jesus, about to be pressed on all sides and covered in blood: was He safe from danger as He was about to take His first breath on earth? Revelation 13 tells us the dragon, Satan, “stood before the woman who was about to give birth…that he might devour it.”
Willingly He endured all of this for me.
I have so little appreciation for His life lived on my behalf. Thirty-three years is a long time to avoid a mess up, to resist every temptation, to endure until the work was finished.
Christmas was meant for worship. We cannot respond to the greatest Gift ever given if we understand nothing of the cost. May we, year after year, seek to know Him and to appreciate the value of all that He gave.