“[T]his will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!’’ Luke 2:10-14 (ESV)
We do not know how that celestial choir sounded. Did they sing a cappella? Were there instruments? Did they sing in the round or in four part harmony? Were there sopranos and altos and tenors and bass? Did they sound otherworldly? Did they sound familiar to the shepherds? Would they have sounded familiar to us? Did their music resonate through the hills or could only the shepherds understand like Paul in the light?
We do not know. We do not know how they appeared. We do not know if they sang as we would recognize. But we know their message. A child is born. A savior is given. He is king and he wants a relationship with us.
In Eden, God walked with those he made in his image. He created them and wanted a relationship with them. When David sought to build God a temple, God told David not to worry about it. He said, “Would you build me a house to dwell in? I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent for my dwelling. In all places where I have moved with all the people of Israel, did I speak a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, ‘Why have you not built me a house of cedar?’” 2 Sam. 7:5-7 (ESV).
The God of all creation who brought bread from heaven and water from rocks and raised us up from the dust of the earth was perfectly content to dwell in a tent. He made the Israelites wander, but he wandered with them. Then later God declared the Immanuel principle — he would be with us. “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” Isaiah 7:14 (ESV). God proclaimed, “I will make a covenant of peace with them. It shall be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will set them in their land and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in their midst forevermore. My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Ezk 37:26-27 (ESV).
God came down at Christmas. The second person of the trinity was born in a food trough. Having wandered through the desert in a tent, he downgraded. The God who created us and wanted a relationship with us could have come back as a conquerer. He could have sat on a throne of gold. Instead, he was “wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”
A belief in a god is a rational belief shared by at least 5.8 billion people on planet earth. A belief in Christ as Messiah is shared by 2 billion. You yourself may think Jesus is silly mythology and I would be hard pressed to convince you otherwise. But I believe that Christ wants a relationship with you, he is alive, and you can cry out to him. There’s no better time than at Christmas.