Merry Day-After-Christmas! People get through Christmas day and start looking towards the new year and everything that it brings. Same with me! But today, I write a Christmas post because Christmas isn’t over (and yesterday was pretty busy). In fact, we celebrate Christmas all the way through January 6th because that’s when the church celebrates the coming of the wise men (Matthew 2).
Our church has a Christmas day service. In the sermon, our pastor made note of the significance of Christ’s name “Immanuel” which means “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). He talked about the Jews’ expectations of Jesus. They thought He would be a mighty warrior. They thought He would save them from the rule of the Romans. But none of that happened. In fact, Jesus was nothing like what they expected. Expectations are what connect this to another Bible story.
In the weeks running up to Christmas, our pastor has been working through a sermon series titled “God With Us.” In one sermon, he connected the story of Christmas with the story of Elijah.
Elijah was just coming off the major high of showing God’s power to King Ahab and his false prophets. But when threatened with death, Elijah fell into utter despair until God spoke to him about God’s plan.
God spoke to elijah
And He said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
Despite God’s power, He showed up in one of the quietest ways. Something so quiet that if Elijah hadn’t been listening, he may have missed God’s voice.
Pastor’s connection was that when Jesus was born, God whispered because when someone whispers, they have to be close by. I thought I’d take it just a slightly different direction.
When Jesus was born, He was the whisper.
Jesus was nothing like what the people expected. Figuratively speaking, they thought He was going to come in as a mighty wind, a trembling earthquake, and a blazing fire. They thought He was going to wipe out the Romans and establish Himself as the King with a huge display of power and glory.
Jesus’ actions fit the expectations of the people so poorly that they didn’t even think He might be the King (of course, except for the few to whom He revealed Himself).
A whisper seems pretty humble compared to wind, an earthquake, and fire. Compared to what they thought the Christ would be like, Jesus was the whisper. Not only was He introduced to the world as a baby, but He wasn’t even born in a house. He spent His first night as a baby in a barn.
He wasn’t welcomed into the world by wealthy people. The first people to meet their savior was a bunch of shepherds. Those who weren’t listening for the whisper completely missed it.
In so many ways, I find Jesus changes my understanding of how He works. We make movies that emphasize strength and power. Yet God’s entrance into humanity didn’t garner any newspaper headlines. It was just a simple whisper.
As a long time follower of Christ, I always appreciate a new perspective on a piece of Scripture I know well. Not that this has to change your perspective on Christmas. I merely wanted to share because it gave me a different understanding of what Jesus’ birth really meant in the story woven through Scripture.
Merry Christmas, all!