When I was a girl my mom often taught missionary stories to our whole group of Sunday School children. I always remember her telling about the life of Amy Carmichael who was a missionary to India. As a very young girl she prayed one night that God would make her brown eyes blue like other girls. She woke up the next morning sure that her eyes would be that colour because her mom had told her God always answered prayer, and she believed He would!
Well, we know that prayer wasn’t answered the way she wanted it to be, but when she became a missionary to India, she learned why God had said “no” to that prayer. In order to blend in with the Indian people so that she could learn their customs and find ways to rescue girls from becoming temple prostitutes, she dyed her skin with coffee to make it brown, then wore the traditional Indian dress. Her brown eyes fit right in!
I love how Amy became like one of the people to whom she desperately wanted to share God’s love. It makes me think about how Jesus became like one of us! Of course, He didn’t have to dye His skin, but He did take on the form of man and was born a helpless baby, coming into the world just like us.
He gave Himself. Hebrews 2:17 says, “Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.”
It is a wonder that He came to be like us, for each one of us in His own perfect time, and that we have the blessed hope that He will come again.
Why God would take on flesh for me makes no sense to my human brain. It’s why we all spend a whole season meditating on this amazing truth of the incarnation—God becoming flesh.
It causes us to wonder, to ponder, like the shepherds and Mary did after they had seen Jesus in the humble stable. Luke 2:17-19 says, “and when they [the shepherds] saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.”
I have been struck by this truth often over the years—the personal nature of that coming. I recall one dark, cold night when I was in college. Although it was dark, I had to get outside. As a 20-something I was facing many life decisions. I had a lot on my mind and only a walk and talk with God would clear my head.
It was also near to Christmas time, and as I bundled up and stepped out, the snow crunching under my boots, I stood in awe of the winter scene: stars bright and winking; moonlight reflecting off the snow.
I began to walk, not a power-walk. This was a wandering kind of walk—one that required my mind to slow down, too. So I began to wonder….
How could anyone see all this and not believe in a Creator? Why was I worried about my life when the God Who made me made all this? As lovely as this is, how could Jesus have left the splendor of heaven, the perfect intimacy with His Father to come here?
Why would the Eternal squeeze and wrap Himself into the flesh of an infant?
I headed home, refreshed. Satisfied. Ready to face life again, even though I was no closer to an answer to my questions. The worship had fed my soul. I could face whatever decisions were before me because all that mattered was that Jesus loved me enough to come for me.
And it is a wonder I’ve never stopped wondering about and never will.
Have you ever heard the phrase “pregnant pause”? I’ve been a part of conversations where the silence was long and full of meaning. I also remember my pregnancies and the building anticipation as I waited to meet the little ones I’d been carrying for months.
Imagine a four-hundred-year pregnant pause. An explosion of speech for hundreds of years had poured forth from the LORD God—words of hope that a Saviour will come to redeem and restore and rule and reign.
Then…silence. Pause. This silence full of meaning was a great wait and weight as the 400 years without revelation from God passed.
But, then came the fullness of time. It arrived. Just like the mother nesting and waiting for the arrival of her child, God was preparing in the silence of His heart to burst on the scene and fulfill His long-awaited promise.
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4-5).
And the pause ended. God had come in human flesh. This was God’s plan to redeem those He loved, to come and give Himself—the birth of the Savior. No other pregnant pause was more meaningful, more full of hope and promise. He came in His time, and He will come again.
More than 2,000 years have passed since the Word spoke, not years of silence maybe, but of waiting. He says to us today as we anticipate the celebration of His first coming this Christmas season in the year 2020 A.D., a year full of so much uncertainty, disease, strife, death, and war: “Surely I am coming soon again.”
And I say with the writer of Revelation, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20)
He came as an infant, became a man, became a sacrifice, became the Risen Savior Who has promised that He will come again to take those who believe in Him to be with Him forever.
My prayer is that we all can make room in the busy-ness of this Christmas season to spend time reflecting on these marvelous truths—that Jesus came for us once, and He will come again to take us to be with Him.
There truly is no greater hope than this!
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