Saturday, January 7, 2012
A Christmas Reflection on the Incarnation
Christ comes as a baby - meek and mild to our eyes. But what about the eyes of the angels? We know that angels gathered around the shepherds to announce the Glory of God come down to Earth. Where were these angels coming from? I've always imagined them to be descending from Heaven but suppose that they were here already?
"And all at once with the angel there was a great throng of the hosts of heaven..." Luke 2:13
The word for "throng" literally means "army" - and what if that is not just a figurative use of the word "army"? What if these were the battle-worn angels who had been keeping Satan and his minions somewhat in check since Adam and Eve were cast out of Eden? Maybe they had been carrying out the order to fight that long and hard war to protect humanity from utter annihilation at the hands of Satan until the King and General was to descend in the fullness of time. "...The devil has sinned from the beginning. Indeed, the Son of God was revealed to destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8b Perhaps what the shepherds witnessed on that consummative night was not simply an announcement for their own benefit...perhaps they witnessed the assembly of the troops. The trumpets blaring - the angels singing their battle cry: "Glory to God in the highest! and PEACE to his people on Earth!" Maybe this was the call to arms - drawing the hosts of heaven from all corners of the earth to the small place called Bethlehem - the center of the war. The center of the universe. They were being called to pay homage to their Chief, their Leader, their King and General. Faithful in battle and biding their time they now came from from every quarter to report for duty to and get their orders from the One they had been waiting for...from Christ the King. Christ the Conqueror.
To us He may appear a meek and mild Babe-in-arms but to the angel armies on both sides of that long drawn-out battle He must have appeared great and terrible. "He's not a tame lion," after all. He's come to vanquish His enemies and place man at His right hand. Victory at long last had come down to Earth.
Those shepherds must have had chills running down their spines and must have trembled as they watched the Heavenly Army assemble for the first time under The Banner of Agnus Dei. Did they know how close their Salvation lay? Did they know that this battle was being waged for their own freedom from Satan's tyranny? Victory was near at hand...laying in a manger and wrapped in swaddling clothes - the chosen armor of our Conqueror King.
I am praying for that heavenly vision, for eyes that see the hidden realities, the hidden battles that surround us. To see "things visible and invisible" as the Heavenly Army does. Whether the God-King appears as a wrinkly newborn in swaddling clothes or as bread and wine in my mouth I want to see Him as the angels do. When Christ the Conqueror "comes again in glory" I want to be with the shepherds seeing that great day through the eyes of the angles. I want to join the "throng" - the army - when, "…at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:10-11. May we be transformed so that we are capable of seeing and withstanding The Glory in and around me.