Monday, December 24, 2012


Today is Monday, the twenty-third day of Advent ... Christmas Eve.  Our word for today is "Humility."

One of the most familiar poems about Christmas is entitled, "The Night Before Christmas."  But have you ever wondered what it must have been like in heaven the night before Christmas?

Philippians 2:5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death
even death on a cross!

9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.(NIV)
Many Bible scholars believe that the forgoing Scripture was part of an ancient hymn of the early church; and that Paul was led by the Holy Spirit to put it into his letter to the Philippians.  It is without dispute the most concise and clearest statement that we have concerning the Incarnation of Christ.  The term incarnation refers to the act of God becoming a man; Deity clothing himself with humanity.  Notice this ancient hymn refers to Christ as being in very nature God, yet becoming in very nature a man.  This is the greatest example of humility of all time and eternity.
On Christmas Eve, today, many of us will be gathering as families to fellowship, exchange gifts, perhaps read the Christmas story from the Bible, and eat our Christmas goodies.  But few of us ever ponder what was going on in heaven on Christmas Eve 2000 years ago.  God was doing something that had never been done before. 
We are not told in Scripture, but the angels were probably created before the universe was formed by our creator God.  If so, they witnessed God's power to create matter by His very Word.  They witnessed a great battle in heaven when Lucifer tried to lift himself up to the level of God.  And then they saw the power of God in casting out Lucifer and a third of the angels.  They witnessed the fall of man and the first promise of a redeemer. 
Genesis 3:15 I will make you and the woman
enemies to each other.
Your descendants and her descendants
will be enemies.
One of her descendants will crush your head,
and you will bite his heel.”(NCV)
God spoke to the serpent (Satan) in the Garden of Eden. He said to him that one of Eve's descendants (Christ) will bruise your head (a death blow).  He also said you (Satan) will bite the heel of of Christ (a reference to the cross ... a wound, but not a final death blow.)
Though the angels could not understand or appreciate the concept of Redemption, they were witnessing the beginning of the final act of this great cosmic drama.  Like one casting aside a robe, God the Son cast aside some of the prerogatives of Deity, and put on another robe.  This robe was humanity, and it was in the form of a unborn baby inside of a very special Jewish girl named Mary.  And then on Christmas Eve in heaven the angels must have been leaning over the ramparts glory as they saw Philippians 4:6ff begin to be played out.  They stood breathless, and all heaven must have fallen silent as they saw this young family, Mary and Joseph, bed down in a stable in the small Jewish town of Bethlehem.  Then all heaven must have erupted into applause when early the next morning Mary gave birth to the Son of God, who in earthly time, only nine months before, had clothed himself with human flesh.
Orders came down from God the Father for a large group of angels to descend to earth and appear before some shepherds to make the first earthly announcement of the birth of this special baby.  It was now Christmas in heaven and they continued to celebrate.  The angels were not sure of all that would happen in the last act of this cosmic drama.  After all, angels are not all-knowing like God.  But they knew that God had a plan and that He never fails to see His plan through to the finish.
Thirty-three years later, this Christ, born in a stable was hanging from a cruel Roman cross, and the angels as well as those who stood by heard these words from the lips of the Messiah:  "It Is Finished!" Today we read those same words in our Scripture.  Jesus was not saying, "I am finished."  He was saying "God's plan of redemption for lost humanity was finished."
There is no doubt about it.  There was a shadow that fell across the baby in the manger that first Christmas day.  And though the angels could not understand it, it was the shadow of the cross.  That Jesus, laid in a manger on the first Christmas, was the same Jesus that walked out of that tomb on the first Easter.  He died nailed to a cross, but He arose wearing a crown as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  On this Christmas Eve, is the drama of redemption something you are experiencing and rejoicing in?  If not, I encourage you to join in the celebration.
          He had ten tiny fingers
          and such cute little toes;
          pink, rosy cheeks,
          and a sweet little nose.

          An innocent babe,
          such a delight to behold,
          yet the coming of this child
          had long been foretold.

          For He was the Messiah,
          the Redeemer of man,
          conceived through the Spirit;
          part of God's plan.

          Years passed and He grew,
          then in love He reached out.
          The miracles He worked
          should have left little doubt

          That this was God's Son,
          no ordinary man He,
          sent forth to deliver,
          to pardon, set free.

          He spoke of new life;
          and showed others the way
          to be granted forgiveness;
          receive salvation that day.

          But many were deaf
          to the truth of God's Word.
          They had ears to listen
          yet their hearts never heard.

          His ministry on earth
          brought Him not man's esteem,
          for many would reject
          that their souls He'd redeem.

          Still He gave up His life;
          bore man's guilt; suffered shame.
          Obeying His Father,
          The Sacrificial Lamb He became.

          His life's blood poured out
          for the remission of sin;
          yet He conquered even death
          when He arose once again.

          Now salvation is promised
          to all who'll believe;
          eternal life offered
          if the Son they'll receive.

          The gift of God's Son
          sent from Heaven above;
          from the cradle to the cross:
          the story of God's love.
Sherry Brady - December 2005


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