The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14 TNIV).
Donna took a video recently of me playing with one of our foster grandsons. This video is precious to me for many reasons. One of them, however, most folks might miss at first glance.
The Little Dude with whom I was playing was very tired. He did not want to go to sleep. He preferred to play with Daddio — a name used for me by several whom I hold dear. He was giggling as I was making faces and noises.
After several minutes of faces and noises, the Little Dude got the bright idea to take the glasses off my face. As he looked up at me without my glasses, he had this puzzled look on his face. You could tell he was thinking, "Who is this weird old dude and where did my Daddio go?"
I quickly took my glasses and put them back on. The Little Dude looked at me a couple of seconds, then smiled, obviously thinking, "There he is!" He then began giggling again as if nothing had happened, only this time he was laughing much more hysterically!
From our earliest interactions with others, the sound of someone's voice and our familiarity with their face were crucial to knowing them. Face and voice were our windows into their identity and our relationship to them.
While the birth of Jesus means many different important things, we must not lose a very simple truth: in Jesus, God chose to have a voice we could hear and a face we could see.
Do you want to see God? Go look at Jesus!
Do you want to know God's will? Go listen to Jesus!
So when you hear songs about Jesus in a manger or the joy of angels or Kings from afar or shepherds in the fields, then remember why they are singing. It's not because silver bells were ringing or drummer boys were drumming or snow was falling or because someone could be home for Christmas.
Heaven's songs are about God becoming human — carried in the womb of Mary and placed in a feedbox at his birth because Joseph and Mary were far from home and had no place to stay. Shepherds came to see the face of God as Mary wrapped Jesus snugly in strips of cloth. Joseph and Mary heard the voice of God as Jesus cried out because he was hungry and needed his diaper changed.
Jesus may intrigue us because of his miracles. Jesus may fascinate us because of his enduring influence through history. Jesus may be attractive to us because of his good deeds, his great teachings, or his purported resurrection. But there is a much more important reason to pay attention to the birth of this little boy so far from home and wrapped in strips of cloth and paced in manger. In Jesus, God shows us his face and lets us hear his voice.
No wonder shepherds are awestruck, angels sing, wise men travel from far away, evil kings tremble, and Mary treasures all these things in her heart. They saw the face of the Almighty and heard the voice of the Creator. And if we are willing, so can we!
May we see Immanuel, God with us!