Look! Can you see it?
An earthen floor of soil and small stones.
An oil lamp flame dancing with its shadow on wall.
Wooden boards with an occasional knothole or crack allowing the beams of moonlight to shine in.
Sniff….Can you smell it?
A sweet waft of fresh hay.
The earthy scent of soil and wood.
The animals. A lamb, a donkey, a goat.
Listen….Can you hear it?
The crickets’ nighttime melodies.
The bleating of a sheep disturbed by approaching visitors.
An occasional stomp of the donkey’s hoof against the ground as it shakes and lowers its head and gets another mouthful of hay.
If you’re quiet enough….shhh….
The sound of Joseph moving hay across the ground to make a soft place for Mary to lie down.
The occasional groan of this young girl as the labor pains intensify.
The prayers of Joseph.
A baby’s cry.
A father’s praise to God.
A thankful mother’s sigh.
This was a night unlike any other. The Savior of mankind was born. God wrapped Himself in a garment of flesh and was born of a virgin in Bethlehem.
Gabriel had been chosen to deliver the Christmas announcement. Never before had an angel received a more blessed and joyous assignment. Luke tells us how it unfolded, first to a group of shepherds in field:
Luke 2:9-11: And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
Before the shepherds could fully comprehend the magnitude of Gabriel’s words, a heavenly choir of angels, too great to number, appeared with Gabriel and erupted into song…
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men…”
The events surrounding the birth of Jesus were miraculous – as if to awaken all creation to the fact that Heaven had touched earth. God had come to man.
Why was it the event of the ages? Why was it so important? Listen to the words of the angel:
Luke 2:11: For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
The angel told Joseph:
Matthew 1:21: And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
What’s so remarkable about the birth of Christ? It is the story of God stepping into the story of man. When man couldn’t save himself, God stepped in and saved the day. We were powerless to lift ourselves out of sin. We were hopelessly lost – utterly fallen. And when we couldn’t get to Him, God came to us!
No wonder sing the Christmas carol:
Christ by highest heav’n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin’s womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”
Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris’n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”
The Jews Missed It
What’s remarkable about the Christmas story is that the Jews missed His coming! John said it like this:
John 1:11 – He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
He came to His own people – the Jews. But they failed to recognize Him. Their Messiah had come, but they didn’t realize it was Him.
Jesus said to the religious Jews who opposed Him:
John 5:39: 39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
The Old Testament scriptures testified that Jesus was the Christ. But though their prophets spoke of Him, they failed to recognize their Christ. Even with 333 specific messianic prophecies, the Jews couldn’t fathom that Jesus was their Messiah.
Luke 19:41-44 records Jesus weeping over the city of Jerusalem. He wept because the Jews missed their moment. Oh the things Jesus wanted to do for them, but they missed their hour of visitation.
The Savior of the world was born but to many it was just business as usual. God had come to walk among men but to many it was just another day. All the grand prophetic words were, on this day of Christ’s birth, being fulfilled, but most were clueless about the significance of the hour.
Jesus was born in a stable because there wasn’t room in the inn. The innkeeper failed to realize who was standing at his door. Had he known, he would have made room. But it wasn’t only the innkeeper – most all of Israel failed to realize who was standing at their door!
Do We Miss it Today?
We fault the Jews. We say, “How could they be so blind?” Yet we are often blind to His coming! You say, “No! We’re celebrating Christmas! We know He was the Messiah!”
Yes, I know we recognize that Jesus was God come in the flesh. Yes, I know we celebrate Christmas – the fact that over 2000 years ago He was born in a manger in Bethlehem.
But HE IS STILL COMING. And many of us today are missing His coming.
We talk about His soon return to the earth. We talk about how we’d better be ready, watchful, and sober as we look for His return. And as true as that is, it’s not what I’m referring to. I’m not talking about His coming 2000 years ago to Bethlehem nor His soon return to the earth. It’s today that I’m talking about. He’s coming today.
He knocks at our door every day. He calls to us every day. He’s calling us to draw closer to Him.
Our Prophetic Hour
We fault the Jews for missing it. We talk about all the prophecies they knew well yet couldn’t see Him as the Christ. But what about all the prophecies about our hour? What about all the things the scriptures declare God wants to do in His church in our day? This is a prophetic hour! We are in the last days! God wants to pour His Spirit out. God wants to do mighty wonders among His church.
But are we missing it? Are we, like the innkeeper, so preoccupied with life that we don’t even realize it when God knocks? Are we so preoccupied with the cares of life that we relegate Him to the stable because we have no room in our lives?
I don’t want Jesus to look over the church and weep like He wept over Jerusalem. I don’t want Him say of us, “You missed your hour of visitation.” We fault the Jews saying, “He came to His own, but His own received Him not!” But we are His Bride. He still coming to His own.
During this Christmas season, remember that He’s coming to us now. He comes with revival, restoration, and renewal. He’s knocking at our door calling us to open and let Him come in. He’s calling us to deeper prayer, greater devotion, and more focused purpose. Are we recognizing His coming?
He’s knocking on your door right now. He’s calling you – drawing you. Don’t miss your moment this Christmas or any season of the year.