God came down the backstairs at Bethlehem lest he blind us by excess of light.
Preacher, George Buttrick (1892–1980)
Picture God tiptoeing down the stairs of heaven to quietly enter our world through the back door at Bethlehem. He did not go for maximum exposure by choosing a major ancient-world city for Christ’s birth; instead, Jesus was born in an out of the way town to a working-class couple. There were some special effects—the virgin birth, the star, the angel choir—but few people noticed them. It was all quite inconspicuous.
But Jesus is the light of the world and it’s hard to contain light.1
At Jesus’ first coming, God came quietly in the back door. At Jesus’ second coming, God will enter through the front door with trumpets blaring, the floodlights on, showing the light of his full glory. And every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!2
But before that second coming, there are many people worldwide who need to hear ‘the glad tidings of great joy’ in the languages that speak to them most clearly.
Pray with me:
· that those who haven’t yet heard of Jesus will be seeking
· that God will send out more messengers (like the Kyles, Hoodies, Joyce and Jean-Claude, the Luthys…) to communities living in darkness. Pray for them as they learn language and understand the cultural context
· for each of us, as we are the light of Jesus in our neighbourhoods and frontlines.
And then, like children waiting for Christmas morning, we wait with quiet, eager expectation to see what God will do next!
PS: Jesus probably wasn’t born in an out-the-back stable. Read Not in that poor lowly stable
1 John 8:12; John 1:4–5 In [Jesus] was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
2 Philippians 2:10–11