Sometimes the glory of God and the brilliance of His salvation plan shows up in the most humble surroundings. Always, it is a call for those observing to seek Him and draw near to worship. How has the Lord revealed Himself in your life and your world?
Coming back to the present, Joseph sensed a tingling of anticipation in his own body and in the environs around him. It was as if the trees, the hills, the stars and moon, and even the animals were holding their breath with wild expectation. He saw that one star suddenly throb with an unmatched brilliance, and its size seemed to double and triple before his eyes. Rising to his feet, his face transfixed on the radiance, the carpenter knew he was witnessing a climactic moment in history. His breath caught in his chest as his ears filled with an exuberant joyous chorus of praise (coming from the stars themselves?), Looking into the largest orb of light, Joseph fancied he saw a face behind it—a face filled with a love and joy so powerful the man’s knees felt weak.
How long he was entranced by the scene, the man never knew. It felt as if he had stepped into eternity and was watching the orchestration of a celebration so great in magnitude his mind was reeling. Every sense was alive and pulsating with the grandeur of it all, and he almost thought his heart would burst from the intensity of this immersion into the heavenly realm.
A cry from inside the cave grabbed Joseph’s attention. It was Mary! Joseph knew it was not proper for him to go inside until he was summoned by Lilia, but it was all he could do to keep himself outside. Then he heard the whimpering of a baby’s first breath! The man found himself on his knees, arms uplifted toward the star, singing along with the stars a song of praise, tears of joy and gratitude streaming down his face.
Lilia touched his arm and motioned for him to come inside. The man felt that he was walking on holy ground, knowing he was about to look into the face of God. Mary was lying back on the straw, perspiration forming little ringlets of hair around her face. She was radiant, and the little bundle in her arms drew from her such a look of wonder and awe. Though much different than the vista Joseph had witnessed outside, the stable scene was in fact the reason for the celebration and the culmination of it. The husband knelt beside the young mother, embracing her and the child. The infant opened his eyes, and the couple both gasped as they recognized eyes that looked like the sky and the sea. The new baby smell reminded them both of recent memories.
“It is the aroma of God,” Mary said in wonder, “something of earth and something of the heavens—flowers and clover and spring rain. I have smelled it before.”
“As have I,” whispered Joseph.
Lilia opened her mouth to speak, wide eyes looking from Mary to Joseph and back again. “That was the aroma of the breeze when I came in earlier, even though it is far too late in the season for such things.” Mary and Joseph exchanged smiles as they watched the older woman pondering these thoughts.
The events in the heavens were touching others in these same moments. Hundreds of miles away, a group of astronomer-philosophers had been charting the course of the one bright star, and were observing when its brilliance increased three-fold and more, and up to ten-fold.
“Behold! It is like the fireworks that the eastern emperors send off when they have a son born to them, and they wish to proclaim to the world their joy and excitement,” one of them shouted.
“Surely it is a sign to the world that a new king has been born, a son of the Great Emperor, and his kingdom will be for all the world,” mused a second.
“Then we must go and find this One, and give Him our honor and service, for look, the face of His Father is glowing from behind the star,” exclaimed the third.
Closer to Bethlehem, not far from the stable, the brilliance of the star was noted by a group of shepherds. As they watched in amazement and fear, the sky lit up nearly to the point of noontime sunlight. An angel came forward and spoke to these common folk, telling of the birth of the Savior, the Messiah. Scores of angels filled the sky and the heavens rang with the joyous song of honor and glory and praise.
Confused, excited and full of wonder, the shepherds gathered to go find the Child as the angel had instructed. A little lad pulled on his father’s sleeve. “Did you see the man standing behind the angel? He was great big, with eyes that looked like the sea. He had such a tremendously big smile, like Uncle Reuben had for days when his first son was born. Each time the man smiled bigger, the sky got brighter, like he was so proud he was going to burst, and he wanted all the world to know. Do you think that was Yahweh, and the new baby is actually His Son?”
The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. New Living TranslationHebrews 1:3
(c) 2020 Holly Craw
Blessed Christmas and the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior!