We have heard the story for years so now we don’t even listen when it’s told. I know, we say, 3 wiseman, shepherds on a hill, a mother, a father, a little baby in a manger. Been there, done that.
But for just a minute today pretend you don’t know the story. Pretend you don’t know the end.
You’re just another Jewish man or woman living in the land of 1st Century Israel. You’re living under Roman occupation which makes life difficult if not impossible sometimes. You recite to yourself constantly different portions of Scripture that promise the coming of the Messiah, the Anointed One, the Christ. You believe that one day He will show up. You hope He’ll be another David. Isn’t that what the Scriptures talk about, David coming to rule and reign over his people? Isn’t the Messiah known as the Son of David in certain Scriptures? A conquering Messiah who will once and for all push the Romans out of Israel and lead His people to the victories that have been promised to them! Your people were exiled once before for disobedience to the Covenant and now you strive to obey the Torah bc you do not want it to happen again.
There’s a feeling in the air. Something special is coming. We’re back in the land God promised our forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Messiah has to come now and set us free from Rome.
The expectation, the anticipation, the hope! Can you feel it?! He’s coming any day, I just know it.
And then He arrives.
Not a strong man with strapping muscles.
Not a charismatic leader who always knows exactly what to say in front of crowds to please them. Not a warrior who will cause the armies of Israel to be invincible.
Not even a great political leader who will unite the people or bring peace between Israel and Rome.
But a baby?
And then you remember, Isaiah 9. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given. And the government will be on his shoulders. And He will called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Emmanuel, God with us… as a baby?
What kind of a God is this?
And what is He going to do next?