In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of Nazareth to a virgin engaged to be married to a man descended from David. His name was Joseph, and the virgin’s name, Mary. Upon entering, Gabriel greeted her:
You’re beautiful with God’s beauty,
Beautiful inside and out!
God be with you.
Luke 1:26-28 the Message
I love the beauty in this translation of the Angel, Gabriel’s greeting to Mary, “Good morning! You are beautiful!”
Imagine the view from heaven at that very moment. A silence that blanketed all of heaven as heavenly beings held their collective breath. A fragrant infusion of extravagance emanating from the King’s love filled eyes.
Perhaps, at that moment heaven’s inhabitants recalled seeing a similar look in the King’s eyes? Silence fell across the heavens — His love had a way of doing that. They remembered how He gazed at the dust held in the palm of His hands, — extravagant love. How He then drew his hands to his mouth, and began to breathe into them — a breath of life. His fragrant love captivating every living thing in the garden. The Garden of Eden.
Now the time had come, the King was giving the greatest gift, His son, — A Prince of Peace. A chosen young village girl, engaged to be married, had found favor in His eyes. All of heaven rejoiced!
~ Peace on Earth ~
Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God: “Glory to God in the highest heaven,” they sang, “and peace on earth for all those pleasing him.” Luke 2:13-14 TLB
Were the shepherds weary and worn from tending their flocks that day? Had they just settled into their positions of rest? Perhaps, they were sharing stories over warm cups of hot tea? They understood each other, — a commodore, a brotherhood. Unlike the limitations a shepherds social class afforded them; this space was safe, — they were accepted.
I imagine they were ready to unwind as the sun began to set, and a canopy of stars opened above them. Unbeknownst to them, a choir was waiting in the wings. Angelic voices would soon light up the darkness of night with brilliant light — “Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth.”
~ A child is born ~
For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 TLB
Soon after Joseph and Mary arrived in Bethlehem, the ancestral home of King David, Jesus was born. How all of heaven must have erupted with sound! A royal prince — sleeping soundly in a manger.
And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born; 7 and she gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him in a blanket[a] and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the village inn. Luke 2:6-7 TLB
~ Extravagant Love ~
Sometime after the birth of Jesus the three wise men from the east found the young King and his family. They brought with them fragrant gifts fit for a King, — gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Later, a women known for her notorious sin, would enter uninvited and into the home where the man Jesus sat sharing a meal. She too brought a gift, — her heart. Moved by love and not intimated by the risks, she broke the alabaster jar and began to anoint Jesus with her expensive perfume. A sweet aroma filling the air.
She has poured this perfume on me to prepare my body for burial. And she will always be remembered for this deed. The story of what she has done will be told throughout the whole world, wherever the Good News is preached.” Matthew 26:12-13 TLB
The baby Jesus grew and became a man. He fulfilled the King’s wishes and gave His life as a sweet smelling fragrance for all.
The prince did not remain in the grave, — rather choosing to trump death and triumphantly rise to life again! How heaven celebrated! Reverberations could be heard from every corner of heaven and earth! The King’s eyes filled with unspeakable joy. It was finished.
Today His fragrance can be found in those who call Him King. As in the days of King Herod the news of Immanuel, God with us — ignites violence at the hands of those who vehemently oppose Him. This is played out in living color in places like; Syria, Egypt, Somalia, Pakistan, and North Korea.
For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 2 Corinthians 2:15-17 ASV
This Christmas I celebrate Immanuel, God with us. Baby. Man. Risen King. He is with us. In the darkness of night, the deepest pain, and our greatest joy. He is God with us.
Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, And they shall call his name Immanuel; which is, being interpreted, God with us. Matthew 1:23 ASV