“Joy to the World! The Lord Has Come!” So go the words to one of the most beloved of our Christmas carols. While many things go into making this a season of celebration, it all centers around one of the greatest joys that can be experienced: the birth of a baby.
The Christmas season centers around that great experience afforded to human beings: to have a child placed in your arms and into your life… a child that, when you look into his or her face, you see your own looking back! But more than that, we look into the innocent and lovely face of a child… born to us or adopted by us… and we see our Creator looking back at us. Something of His glory… of His person… rests in and on a baby.
When angels announced to terrified shepherds on a Galilean hillside outside of Bethlehem, “we bring tidings of great joy…, ” I could not imagine joy being wrapped in a more perfect package than a baby! “Unto us a child is born, a son is given” the prophet Isaiah proclaimed.
Joy wrapped in a soft, kissable, cooing, tiny package. The perfect gift! It is amazing sometimes when we look at my granddaughter laughing, or pensive, or her beautiful blue eyes just wide open and taking it all in that we can see her mother or father or even her grandmother looking back at us. We marvel at our Creator’s handiwork and the miracle that is life.
That very first Christmas, when angels shined in the night sky and shepherds knelt at a stable, God showed up in a baby. The tiny life wrapped in Mary’s youthful embrace looked like the mother who had borne Him in her womb for nine months, without a doubt. And yet when she looked into her baby’s face, it was God she saw looking back at her!
That night, that Holy Night, the Creator smiled at us from a cattle stall. He came as a human child, and yet He was fully Divine… “the fullness of Deity dwelt in Him,” the Bible tells us. Salvation had come to the world… God is with us… Immanuel. And now, with the angels and the redeemed through the ages, we too can sing,
JOY TO THE WORLD! THE LORD HAS COME!