“And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
As we have been working through our Advent teaching series, God with Us, last week we talked about the incredible glory and power that belongs to Jesus as the eternally pre-existent second member of the Trinity. He is fully God, and we dare not forget that. And yet, at the same time (and as we will talk about this coming Sunday, available here on Monday), He voluntarily took on all the limitations of humanity. All of them. Not only that, when He actually entered the world, it was not among the halls of the great and powerful where He would be afforded the honor rightly due His station. Instead, it was through the womb of a poor, teenage mother who was giving birth on a cave floor with no one but an anxious father and a collection of smelly animals as her company. What could motivate the God of all creation to enter the world in such mean estates? One word: love.
That brings us to today’s song of the season. A Christmas album I keep going back to again and again each year is Meredith Andrews’ album, “Receive Our King.” Every year as I listen to it from start to finish over and over again, the rich theology and superb storytelling woven into some truly spectacular music leaves me looking forward to the next year’s excuse to listen again. If this were an old cassette tape, I would have likely long since worn it out.
Toward the end of the album is a song borrowed from another tremendous artist, Andrew Peterson, that starts out with an unassuming guitar line and Andrews’ declaration that the night of Jesus’ birth was not the silent night the traditional carol so beautifully but, in all likelihood, so inaccurately proclaims. The King of Heaven entered the world not with pomp, but with pain and a mess and the utmost of humility. I have yet to find a song that captures that night and the love that made it possible quite so well as “Labor of Love.” As you continue to celebrate through this Advent season, I hope and pray this is the blessing for you it has so often been for me.