“God is coming.”

That was the rumour. That was the story.

“The King is coming in his glory!

Make straight the path, prepare the way,

The Lord could be here any day!”

So prophets preached from mountain peaks

As scribes set down the words they’d speak

On scrolls that told a nation’s hope,

That helped an exiled people cope;

A song so strong it carried on

Long after those who sang had gone,

While centuries passed in trials and tears,

Long and dark and wordless years.

Silent night on silent night

Spent searching for some hint of light.

And fields and hills and forests waited,

All creation’s breath was bated,

Paused, suspended animation,

Frozen in anticipation.

“Is God coming?” men would cry,

“I see no signal in the sky.

Perhaps he lied.”

So things continued much the same,

His people mired in sin and shame.

And then he came.

 

God came. But here’s our story’s twist:

When God came down within our midst,

He didn’t come in splendour bright –

He crept in under dead of night.

No social media campaign

Proclaimed his reign when Jesus came.

Born a baby in disgrace,

God acquired a human face.

Within a shed, his glory veiled,

The God who gave us breath inhaled.

He came a child, he coughed, he cried,

He ate, he drank, he bled, he died,

This God embodied, God enfleshed,

Creator with creation meshed.

 

And yes, the angels filled the skies,

But just for half a dozen guys –

Lowly shepherds, humble blokes,

Not the most important folks.

And yes, a star announced his birth,

But all who noticed down on earth

Were unnamed, unknown, far-off strangers,

Miles from God-within-a-manger.

And yes, we dress to reenact

Their story, but the striking fact

When all is said and done and through

Is God was here, and no one knew,

Except a special chosen few.

 

All of which should make us wonder,

Why the lack of fire and thunder?

Why would God be so low-key?

Why would he become like me?

Why would God choose incarnation?

Weakness, death, humiliation?

Here’s the answer: our salvation.

 

“God has come.”

That’s the real Christmas story.

God has come. This is his glory.

God took flesh and skin and bones

And DNA and chromosomes

Because, for God the Son to be

A substitute for you and me,

He had to join the family tree,

Be one of us, to set us free.

Those were our tears the baby cried,

Our breaths he breathed, our death he died.

So there, within the manger, lies

God’s greatest gift, his great surprise:

God has come to us as kin

To save us from our death and sin.

He came that we might come to him.

This Christmas, will we let him in?