The angels knew He would walk this earth in struggle, sweating, getting scraped and muddy, bearing up under fever and flu. He also bore the brunt of scorn and scandal given the circumstances of His birth and He had to watch as His good mother was likely jeered and gossiped about in the marketplace. Oh the unbearable burden of descending from Heaven to be surrounded by sin and depravity! Because our inherent approach is selfish and power-hungry, dozens of baby boys were murdered as a jealous puppet king sought to maintain his control – welcome, Jesus. Welcome to the sewer we have made of your world.
How did the angels sing, “Glory!” knowing that this perfect, humble babe, their King, would grow to gain not a crown, but a cross? That He would love and teach and serve, only to be butchered as a criminal and laid in a borrowed grave? That He would pour out His blood to save the souls of the very men who laid on the scourge? Oh yes, it was those who drove the cruel Roman spikes into His Heavenly hands who also drove the heart of the Good Shepherd to submit Himself to the slaughter, for He came not only to seek but to save that which was lost. And oh. How. Lost. We. Were.
The angels praised Jesus for his majesty – for He was the rightful King though we did not honor Him as such. They worshiped Him for His holiness – though we misunderstood that too. They chorused glad tidings of great joy that would be to all people – the good news that wasn’t for Jesus but for us because of Him.
They sang because we were in darkness but our rescue was at hand – the long-awaited Redeemer had finally come! It was Hope that was born in the stable that night; true eternal Joy that whimpered in the straw. They sang because our sin-shackles need not bind us any more. They sang, praising God for His Divine love and mercy; for the matchless unspeakable Grace that provided salvation for desperate men. They sang because God was bending down to embrace His creation; we, the tortured prisoners who could never work our way back to Him.
The angels sang because Jesus is worthy of praise and they sang because Salvation had come. Heaven’s loss was our gain. Glory to God in the Highest!!
God gave everything He had that first Christmas. He gave it to us though we had not earned it and because He knew we would never deserve it. This Christmas consider . . . the cost of the Gift and the glory of the Giver; and consider your need for what was provided. Have you accepted this gift of Salvation freely offered from the wounded hand of the Risen King? The word Jesus means Salvation. Don’t leave this gift unopened. It’s for you!