"Christ, by highest heaven adored,
Christ, the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold him come,
Offspring of the virgin's womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail the incarnate Deity,
Pleased as man with men to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel.
Hark! The herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn king."
Good evening everybody! During our Advent time tonight, we sang this well-known hymn. Once again I was struck by the way it so beautifully encapsulates the heart of the Christmas story. Though all the verses are wonderful, the second verse [above] really stuck out to me. Basically, in about four sentences, it tells us who Jesus is [Christ the everlasting Lord], how He came into this world [offspring of the virgin's womb], Jesus's "secret identity" on this earth; as well as a recognition of His being all God while still being fully human [Veiled in flesh the Godhead see, hail the incarnate Deity], and then, [probably my favorite part], this song reminds us of how Jesus felt about this whole plan, [Pleased as man with men to dwell, Jesus our Emmanuel]. Note that it doesn't say, "Tolerates being a man and dwelling with men", or, "Is resigned to coming to the earth", or "Does it because it's the right thing to do" or anything like that. The truth is, even after being fully aware of the cost of being our Savior, Jesus took pleasure in giving us this gift. I suppose we could almost compare it to the pleasure that we get when we buy or make the perfect gift for someone; as we watch them open up the package we aren't usually thinking, "I can't believe I paid $27.95 for that little thing", but rather we experience almost more joy than the receiver of the gift in our excitement to bless them. [Now I know that what Jesus did is way out of comparison, but I'm just noticing a down-the-line parallel]. This Advent, I hope that we will all come more and more to the realization that the gift of Salvation [indeed, the gift of Christmas], is not at all one given begrudgingly, or out of a "I guess I have to" spirit; but it is given out of the heart of a Father who loves His children enough to lay down His life, and the tenderness of a Shepherd who protects His sheep, the security of dad who will fight off the bullies, the mercy of a loving King to His subjects, and yes, the meekness of a Baby born on a silent night.