This is a beautiful Christmas meditation written by my friend, Amy Malekos. It moved me deeply and pray it will you as well. Merry Christmas!
The story of Christ intercepted the story of earth when God tore open the fabric of time and inserted his son, dressed in human skin, to carry out the plan of salvation. But it wasn’t the last time that something in the life of Jesus was torn. Later, that same human skin was torn from his back as a cat of nine tails was lashed against him, his life was torn from his body as he declared that “it is finished”. The curtain in the temple was torn from top to bottom, and the victory was torn from the grasping hands of Satan himself.
The story of Christ intercepted the story of earth when Mary and Joseph searched for room…for space…from inn to inn, searching for a place to rest for the night, the labor pains beginning, ripe with child, ready to deliver, the contractions regular, growing more intense by the hour…
There was no room at the inn….but it would not be the last time that Jesus would search for someone to open their heart, their home, their life to him. He came to those who were his own, but they did not receive him….
Finally, they found a stable, more likely a cave, set apart for housing the animals at night…and it wouldn’t be the last time that Jesus would find himself in a cave, among the rocks, on the outskirts of town…
Here in the darkened stable that smelled of fresh manure and mulch he took his first breath,
Then as he cast demons from a man who had been tormented for years
and later, after his last breath, as his body was laid in a darkened tomb,
smelling of earth and decay….
Mary and Joseph laid him in the manger, and It wouldn’t be the last time Jesus body would be laid against the grain of wood….
Here, in the peaceful cave … and later, his hands pressed to the cross, metal nails hammered into flesh, course, splintered wood against skin, here his back, shredded from whipping would grated against wood as he struggled for last breaths.
It wasn’t the last time Jesus would be wrapped in linen.
First, he was tenderly nestled in swaddling clothes with loving hands preparing for life,
then, wrapped in burial clothes by equally loving hands, preparing for death…
Mary laid him in the manger. With the awe of a new mother, she knelt and kissed his sweet face. And it it wasn’t the last time that Jesus would be kissed….
First, by Mary as she ushered him into life…then by Judas, as he ushered him into death…
She stays and stares at him lying there, and as any good Jewish mother would do, she falls asleep praying for her newborn child… and it wasn’t the last time someone would fall asleep praying for Jesus.
He begged his friends to keep watch over him while he went to pray. His soul was sorrowful to the point of death, he agonized over the pain that was to come, and here he submitted to his father’s will, that he would die, so that we might live….three times he returned to his friends to find them asleep…
The wise men saw a star in the east, and they followed that star, in search of the Messiah. It wasn’t the last time that the skies revealed Jesus coming….
First, the star in the east,
Then, when heaven opened up and God spoke, saying:
“This is my son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Then as he returned to heaven, after revealing that he had risen from the dead.
and yet to come, when he will return as Messiah ben David… the Conquering King
The wise men brought expensive gifts to honor the baby king, and it wasn’t the last time that money brought honor, or dishonor to the king
The magi brought expensive gifts,
The rich young ruler who went away brokenhearted because he could not convince himself to sell everything he had to follow Jesus….
Frankly, we have the same choice to make…
and of course….there were the 30 pieces of silver….
When King Herod heard of this new “King”, he ordered all baby boys to be murdered in order to secure his own rule. Mary and Joseph were warned in a dream to flee. But it wasn’t the last time that those who were close to Jesus had to flee their land into safety… it happens today…in North Korea, in China, in Iran and Iraq.
In fact, it wasn’t the last time that Jesus was a threat…
It wasn’t the last time that Jesus arrival shook things up.
He arrives in our everyday moments, when we choose to offer a cup of water or a piece of bread,
or extend forgiveness to others….
The Magi and the Shepherds worshipped the baby, and it wasn’t the last time Jesus was worshipped.
Mary poured precious oil on his feet and wiped it with her hair.
Most of Jesus closest companions went to their death with worship still on their lips.
Millions of people in every nation and tribe and tongue have believed in Jesus as Lord.
The earth and everything in it profess Jesus as King.
And one day soon, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord
to the Glory of God the Father