One of the most blessed events ever to transpire in the course of human history was the birth of Jesus Christ. Though born in a lowly place and into a family of an humble carpenter, yet a glory surrounds that birth, as no other. Wherein lies the manifest glory of that birth? Is it in the fact that He was born of a virgin? Surely this is a glorious truth. Had he had an earthly father; He too, would have been tainted with original sin and thereby disabled from entering into the 'holy place' to obtain eternal redemption for His people. (Heb. 9:12, Mat. 1:21) But since He had no father after the flesh; He had not the blood of sinners flowing through His body, but the blood of God; holy and acceptable for an offering. (see Lev. 17:11)
Perhaps that glory lies in the fact that a bright star marked out the place of His birth (Mat. 2:2,10) Such a sign is fitting, for He who was born there is 'the bright and morning star' (Rev. 22:16), He is 'the Sun of righteousness who arises with healing in His wings' (Mal. 4:2).
Or maybe that glory is seen in the fact that angels heralded His birth as the heavenly host praised God. This was most assuredly a glorious happening, the like of which the world has not seen before or since. Yet the full manifest glory of that birth lies not in any of the above mentioned facts. That glory shows itself in the person of the One who is born there. For He is 'the brightness of the Father's glory and the express image of His person' (Heb. 1:3).
Though the fact of the virgin birth is glorious, yet the One who is born of that virgin gives glory to that birth as the noon-day sun gives light to the moon to shine in fulness. "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall ve upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end." (Isa. 9:6,7)
The star in the heavens was a glorious sight, yet the One to whom the star pointed overshadows its light with His own glory. "There shall come a Star out of Jacob and a Scepter shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab and destroy all the children of Sheth." (Num. 24:17)
The manner in which the angels heralded His birth was certainly glorious. But the true glory of that birth in Bethlehem, nearly 2000 years ago, is seen in the angel's announcement of the One who was born there, ' which is Christ the Lord.'
Oh! what a wonder, what a glory surrounds that manger, for the One who lies there is God Almighty. The Ancient of Days becomes an infant of years. Can our amazement ever cease? When He could have come with the pageantry and majesty of a king (which He rightfully was and is; see Jn. 18:37), He chose to come as a helpless babe, born in a stable. When He could have taken on Himself the nature of angels (Heb. 2:16), it pleased Him to stoop to a low estate and take on Himself the 'likeness of sinful flesh.' (Rom. 8:3; Phil. 2:7) Yes, the mighty God of all creation veils Himself in human flesh and comes under the law, to redeem them that were under the law. (Gal. 4:4-5) It behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren, ... to make reconciliation for their sins. (Heb. 2:17) He came with a determined purpose to save His people (Mat. 1:21) and He accomplished just that, for they shall all come to Him (Jn. 6:37), and He shall be satisfied. (Isa. 53:11)
During this season when all are supposedly thinking of that birth in Bethlehem it is appalling to consider how few people really know the One who was born there. Many think of Him as 'sweet little Jesus boy' and are ready to pay lip-service worship as they survey Him as a helpless infant. But they really despise the One who was born there for He is the Lord of Glory who shares that glory with none. A mere mention of His absolute and unconditional sovereignty brings men up from their 'worship' and ready to blaspheme the name of the One they supposedly adore. Men don't mind acknowledging a god over whom they can excercise control, but they rise up against the God who rules over all creatures and who reserves the right to show mercy to whom He will show mercy and to harden whom He will. (Rom. 9:18) They don't mind a god who lets them be the captain of their soul and master of their fate, but they hate the One who holds the destinies of all men and the working of all events in His nail-scarred hands. (Isa. 46:11)
My friends, as you survey that manger scene in Bethlehem let not your eyes become fixed there. Cast thine eyes from the cradle to the cross. Behold the One who died for sinners. 'For unto you is born... a Saviour,'. Oh! and there at the foot of the cross with bowed knee, lift up thine eyes to the heavens and view the majestic splendor which surrounds the ascended Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
He came from those glorious surroundings the first time, 2000 years ago, to be born of a woman and to be clothed in humiliation in order that He may purchase Himself a people. Now He sits amidst that glory again, awaiting the times of restitution of all things, (Acts 3:21) and then He shall come again. When He comes the second time, it will not be as a babe in humility, but 'in flaming fire taking vengence on them that know not God, and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ' (2 Thes. 1:8). He comes to judge the world and to receive His purchased possession to Himself for all eternity. Are you among those who shall dwell with Him? Are you a part of His purchased flock? Because you celebrate His birth is no sign that you love Him, for numbers who revel in this celebration neither know Him nor love Him. Do you long for His appearing now? Is His return precious to your soul? He comes for those who look for Him (Heb. 9:28) and has a crown of righteousness for all those who love His appearing. (2 Tim. 4:8) Is Christ your life and all? Then ye shall appear with Him in glory. (Col. 3:4) Rejoice for our God reigneth, even as a babe in a manger.mam
Joy to the world! the Lord is come
Let earth recieve her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heav'n and nature sing
Isaac Watts (1674 - 1748)
“Christ executes the office of a prophet in our calling; of a priest in our justification; and of a king in our sanctification. Let us then hear Him as our prophet; rely on Him as our priest; and obey Him as our king. Think not the worse of Him for His manger or His cross. As He ceases not to be a man in His highest estate, so He was God in His lowest. His words were oracles, and His works miracles. His life was a pattern; His death a sacrifice; His resurrection glorious; His ascension triumphant; His intercession prevalent; and His coming again will be magnificent. All the angels in heaven adore Him; all the devils in hell fear Him; and all the sons and daughters of Adam must stand before Him.”
John Mason (1646 - 1694)