It has taken some serious effort for me to focus on the true meaning of Christmas. I’ve allowed myself to get overwhelmed multiple times with all of the things to do and all of the places to go. Yesterday at church, I decided to press in (with all the strength I could muster) to Jesus for the hour. I yearned to put my complete focus on Him and to push out all of that other stuff.
As we sang beautiful songs about His birth and His light, I closed my eyes and imagined myself walking into a rough stable. I was both years and miles from anywhere familiar, but when I saw Him– when I knelt beside Him– I felt immediately at home.
Light from a swaying oil lamp above cast a glow on the downy hair of His perfect skin. He was radiant. How perfect His little head looked, partially hidden under a crude makeshift blanket. I gazed at Him, watching the soft spot on His head pulse in a rhythm that matched my own racing heart. I was overcome with His vulnerability. So majestic, yet so helpless, the Word of God had indeed become flesh. His future flashed through my mind in that moment. His precious little head would have no place to rest. It would bear a crown of thorns. It would be laid down in a tomb. That head. Bending down, I inhaled all the sweetness and the holiness of it.
A pink foot emerged, despite the swaddling. So small, yet so innately powerful. I beheld a foot that would one day tread on the enemy. It would walk many miles to reach the broken, the lost, the captive. It would collect the dust and grime of this earth; it would be washed with water, with perfume, with tears. That delicate foot would take Him all the way to Calvary, for me. It would receive a nail, for me. It would carry Him triumphantly and miraculously out of the tomb, for me. How could I do anything but worship that glorious little foot?
Noise from within the stable interrupted His sweet slumber. Arms began to flail and I instinctively reached out. A finger in His palm elicited the same response as a thousand other infants– He grasped on to me. We are often amazed at the power of a newborn’s grip, as I was in that moment. To touch His little hand undid me. The very hand that fashioned me now gripped my own. The hand that would heal countless people, both young and old, held on to me. The hand that lifted me up from the ash heap, the hand that would reach out to every soul on earth, fit within my own. A sudden truth flooded my mind. Through His Spirit, this helpless babe communicated to my heart.
I will never let you go.
Peace washed over me. Fear, pride, and insecurity ebbed out to some far away sea and I reveled in the peace of His presence. That peace– it would calm storms and chase away demons. It would travel through crowds like a holy epidemic. It would guard a vast multitude of hearts facing trial, loss, and death. That peace would become tangible evidence of His presence for all who believe, even after He returned to the Heavenly right hand of the Father.
Somehow, He was not as vulnerable as I first perceived. His arrival was no accident, no desperate plan, no gut reaction to our depravity. This arrival had been foretold and carefully orchestrated. All of creation had been longing and groaning for this moment. The Law, the Prophets, all of history had been carefully woven to both reveal and usher in this moment. Awestruck, I entertained His gaze and reveled in the time and place that would change everything. More truths came to me from His heart.
The road to Calvary begins here.
This is what I came for.
I choose this.
I choose you.
I love you.
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Photo credit: examiner.com (nativity) and babiescantwait.com (fingers)