I had the radio on this morning (yes, the radio I know – old school). Anyway, it was tuned to our local Christian station and the song: 2,000 Decembers Ago by Joy Williams was playing. I didn’t pay it much attention at first – the goal with turning on music was to distract Oliver so I could actually get some things accomplished. In fact, the part of me that was partially listening was critiquing the song…2,000 Decembers? What if Jesus wasn’t really born in December? What if he was really born in June? Then what? Then 2,000 Decembers ago was meh, nothing special.
But, somewhere in the midst of the song a lyric seemed to crash through my half-hearted attempt to listen and I literally stopped in my tracks.
“Was anyone able to look at the stable…and not see a child but a king?”
Can you imagine what it must have been like that night? A baby born in a lowly stable to a couple of commoners on their journey far from home. They wouldn’t have even garnered a second glance from those passing by that night. In fact, were it not for the angels who split the sky with their glories to God and frightened some shepherds into action, the moment may not have warranted any extra attention at all. After all, a royal birth would not be taking place in a stable, so he wouldn’t be anyone important…right? Oh, if only passers-by had known who that baby really was…
2,000 “Decembers” later not much has changed. Christmas day comes and goes, with much gift-giving and hurrah, but not much thought to the reason we celebrate. Even if, amidst the giant Frosty the Snowman lawn ornaments, blow-up Santa Clauses, decorated trees, and twinkling Christmas lights, a nativity is set up – many would not give it but a cursory glance. Even those of us who know Him will sit in church and listen to the story from Luke that we have heard so many times before, and our minds wander to other things. The babe in the manger fades into the background of the hustle and bustle, and becomes nothing more than a ceramic baby lying in a miniature feeding trough. Oh, if we would only stop to think about who that baby really is!
The song ended and I walked downstairs and looked at the nativity I set up a couple weeks ago – and for the first time paused and thought about what it really meant. Christ, God’s son, came to earth as a baby, a helpless baby. Why? For me. For you. For a world so desperately lost, but that he so desperately loved. It would have been so incredible to have been there. To have seen the multitude of angels rejoicing. To have experienced the wonder and the awe of that night, as heaven and nature sang. To have seen the shepherds running, seeking, and bowing before the One they knew to be the Savior of the world. A baby, but a King.
But, though I can’t go back in time and experience that night for myself…I can do my own running, seeking, and bowing. I can stop, quiet my heart, and worship the One who came to give his all, for me. I can pause to spend a moment in awe as I picture what it must have been like 2,000 years ago – for I know that the baby in the manger was not just a child, he’s my King.