I think I’ve always had a bit of resistance to leaving baby Jesus in the manger at Christmas. That, for some reason, I’ve needed to remind myself that the idyllic scene I love to imagine through the various nativity displays which are put out at Christmas is but a precursor to the darkness that hung over the cross when the Author of Life was put to death for the sin of the world. That by not lingering too long over that silent night, remembering that He was born to die, I somehow protect myself from ever remaining fixed at Bethlehem and not moving on to Calvary.
But I wonder if I shouldn’t hover more often, and for longer periods of time, on the wonder of Immanuel, God with Us.
If I shouldn’t gaze more intently at the Babe in the manger, in awe that this is He through whom God created the world. That in Mary’s Child, the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily, the exact imprint of God’s nature. That even on the night of His birth He was upholding the universe by the word of His power, even while He was yet able to form a word. That He is the radiance of God’s glory, though He emptied Himself of that glory in order to take on the likeness of man and be found in human form. Stepping away from His place over heaven so that He might take on the form of a servant on earth. (Col. 2:9, Heb. 1:1-3, Php. 2:6-8)
And what’s got me thinking about being more okay with lingering longer over the Christ child is my reading in Revelation 21 this morning where, when all is said and done–when the final battle has been fought, when the enemy is forever cast down, when sin is finally judged, when the new heavens and new earth are a reality–Jesus is always the Lamb.
And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.
(Revelation 21:22-23 ESV)
Twenty-seven times in Revelation (only twice in the rest of the NT) the Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, is seen as the Lamb. Literally as the lamb-kin, the little Lamb.
His humility in coming in flesh forever on display in heaven. His lowliness and meekness eternally portrayed as He is beheld as the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 5:9, 5:12, 13:8).
Those in relationship to Him for eternity, are there in relationship with the Lamb. There because their names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Their robes made white, the victory theirs, because of the blood of the Lamb. To be known forever as the bride of the Lamb. Singing forever the song of the Lamb . . . in the temple of the Lamb . . . lit by the light of the glory of the Lamb.
So, I’m thinking to myself, “Self, if the humility of the Son of God come to be the Lamb of God will be worth considering for eternity, then maybe, just maybe, spending some extended time in quiet, un-rushed awe, over the Son of God come as the son of Mary, might be appropriate for a season.
Always the Lamb.
Praise God for the Child!
O come let us adore Him!
Because of grace. For His glory.