It’s getting to the time of the year when we start looking forward to Christmas. We look forward to the love we all share and the gifts we give and receive. But let‘s not forget the original (and still the best!) Christmas, and all those who eagerly awaited it.
Firstly, we have YHWH God, the Almighty. The Father was looking forward to sending the greatest gift the world had ever seen, and seeing the smiles on their faces as the wrapping is removed and they receive the revelation of Jesus Christ. He planned this gift for a very, very long time. Even as He punished His children, He looked forward to giving them this great gift.
Then we have the angels. They were neither giving, nor receiving, but were overjoyed to watch us receive such a gift. We don’t know when God showed them His gift to us of Himself, but we see their excitement from their behaviour before the Shepherds.
And suddenly there came with the messenger a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, ‘Glory in the highest to God, and upon earth peace, among men—good will.’
“Come quick, you‘ve got the best present ever!“ is how a Christmas day child would put it.
Next, there are the prophets, who were shown the coming of the Christ long ago. It was revealed to them that He would be born of a virgin, in the town of Bethlehem. They saw many of the details of the present, including our redemption on the cross and looked forward to it for us. Abraham was glad to see Jesus days.
Mary eagerly awaited her child‘s birth for nine months. She was included in both the giving and receiving of the gift of Jesus Christ, by the grace of God.
‘Because He looked on the lowliness of His maid-servant, For, lo, henceforth call me happy shall all the generations, For He who is mighty did to me great things, And holy is His name, And His kindness is to generations of generations, To those fearing Him‘
(Mary’s words) Luke 1:48-50
She looked forward to her giving and us receiving, and herself receiving God’s gift of her son.
Joseph looked forward to the Saviour‘s arrival, and getting to see him grow up and help him, and receive God’s gift of salvation himself.
The wise men (“mages from the east“) saw the star of the King of the Jews, and came a long long way to bow down to him. They planned to bring offerings to the new-born-king of great worth– gold, frankincense and myrrh. They made the great journey, because they wanted to see the King given to the world. Their excitement must have grown with each step as they approached the star above Bethlehem.
Finally, the shepherds. A messenger of the Lord came to them in the night, and gave them quite a fright.
‘because there was born to you to-day a Saviour—who is Christ the Lord—in the city of David, and this is to you the sign: Ye shall find a babe wrapped up, lying in the manger.’
They hurried to Bethlehem immediately, that first Christmas night, with a holy excitement hurrying them forwards to see Christ the Lord.
Our excitement for our Christmas is a mere shadow of the excitement before the first Christmas.
God bless you thoroughly.