Our reading today comes by way of my good friend and mentor, David Roper. Besides being a huge fan of Lewis, Chesterton and Donne (sounds like a law firm), he is a student of the scriptures and a poet. I was so touched by this piece that I decided I would share it with you. A retired pastor, David lives in Idaho, ministers to pastors in the north central United States and Canada, and is an avid fisherman, thus his familiarity with the rivers of that region.
His coming begins with a trickle of truth-the way the Salmon River begins, originating near Stanley as a tiny rivulet that you can easily jump across. It soon grows into a sizable stream as the Stanley Basin tributaries-the Fourth of July Creek, Redfish Creek and others streams-flow into it.
The Salmon flows on, joined by the Yankee Fork and East Fork of the Salmon, the Pahsimeroi, then the North and South Forks make their contribution until, by the time the Salmon reaches the Snake River, it is a magnificent and powerful body of water.
So the gathering river of revelation grows wider and deeper as we trace it’s course through the scriptures until it finds it’s final form, not in a gigantic figure, but in a tiny child, whom the angels said was “Christ the Lord.”
We may unknowingly overlook the significance of his name, Christ: it is the Greek form of the Hebrew word for “Anointed One” or “Messiah.” But the title conceals another gigantic truth: “Lord” is the word used by the Septuagint-the Greek translation of the Old Testament-for God himself. The angel was very bold: this child is not only the long awaited Messiah, the Consolation of Israel. This little one was nothing less than the infinite God-God “contracted to a span” (Donne).
What Child is this? He is the Eternal One, the Alpha and Omega, the one at the beginning and end of human history. This is the one who created all things. The one who holds all things together. The one who stands at the end of time to receive back the universe, because it was made by Him and for Him.
The Creator became a creature of time; the Infinite became infinitesimal. “The God who had been only a circumference was seen as a center and that center was infinitely small” (G.K. Chesterton). This one whose hands created the universe put himself in our hands, entrusted himself to the human race, made himself so incredibly weak and vulnerable-to bring us salvation.
Salvation! That’s the word in the announcement that got the shepherd’s attention-and should get ours: “Today, in the city of David, a Savior has been born to you.” Here’s a God who wanted to save so badly that he got down and dirty, the only God worth having; the only God for you and me.
It seems,” said Tirian, smiling himself, “that the stable seen from within and the stable seen from without are two very different places.”
“Yes,” said the Lord Digory. “Its inside is bigger than its outside.”
“Yes”, said Queen Lucy. “In our world too, a Stable once had something inside that was bigger than our whole world” (C.S. Lewis).