"From heaven You came, helpless babe, Entered our world, Your glory veiled; Not to be served but to serve, And give Your life that we might live..." G. Kendrick
This song reminds me of the glory that the Lord Jesus left behind when He came into our world as a tiny, helpless baby. A later verse in the same song speaks of “Hands that flung stars into space” being surrendered to the cruel nails of a cross. For Jesus, His entering into our world was one of complete submission to the Father’s will and involved an enormous step down that we cannot comprehend.
Jesus did not live His human life in the lap of luxury. He wasn’t born into a palace surrounded by pomp and privilege, with the best in health care and provision for all of His needs. I often think about the contrast between Jesus’s lowly start in life and that of the newest additions to the British royal family. Here, the new royal babies usually begin their lives in a plush private hospital wing, no doubt with the best doctors and midwives in attendance. Outside of the hospital, the world’s media assembles ready to capture the first valuable pictures of the newborn infant as he or she leaves the hospital with the well-groomed royal parents.
Not Jesus. There wasn’t even room in a proper inn, so He was born in a damp stable cave, probably with the smell of animal droppings all around. His mother was very young and his earthly father was a lowly carpenter. There wasn’t a midwife in sight and there certainly wasn’t an en-suite shower room attached! Here we have the King of Kings being born into poverty, while our earthly royal babies enjoy all the luxury and notoriety that their position affords.
Try to imagine the great glory that He left behind in order to do this for us. We can’t really grasp it. We read something of it in John 17 where Jesus prays in the garden before His arrest:
“And now, Father, glorify me in Your own presence with the glory that I had with You before the world existed.” John 17:5
If you have ever held or cared for a tiny new-born infant, you know something of the smallness and vulnerability of that stage of life. Babies are completely dependent on their adult carers for food, warmth and everything pertaining to life. Can you imagine the One who was there in the very beginning submitting to that fragility? He was there with God as the universe was created and was involved in the whole process.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.” John 1:1 – 3
Look up at the stars on a clear night. Think about how far away some of these constellations are, how massive some of the stars are, how huge and mind-blowing the universe is, and then ponder the fact that this Creator chose to enter into our messy world as a tiny, vulnerable baby! Of course, Jesus didn’t stay a baby. He grew and developed and became a Man; ultimately He became our sin offering as He died upon that cross. Praise God that the grave could not contain Him and this unique Person was raised from the dead, and now He offers forgiveness and new life to all who follow Him.
As you enjoy celebrating Christmas with your family and friends on Wednesday, and perhaps unwrap some special gifts, ponder and consider the greatest Gift of all: Jesus Christ, the infant King.