Written by Stephanie Plumb on December 2, 2019
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
‘Til He appeared, and the soul felt its worth.
One of my favorite lines in any Christmas song, ever.
Did your parents ever promise you something big? Maybe a special toy for your birthday, or a promise to take a trip somewhere? Do you remember the moment when that promise became a reality?
One Christmas, my parents told my sister and I we were going on a family trip to New York that summer. We were SO excited. Shopping, shows, tours, museums…all of it was promised to us. The trip was amazing; some of my favorite family memories as a young adult were made during that week.
We were promised an amazing gift, but we had to wait. And it wasn’t until we actually were stepping off the plane and driving into the city that the promise truly became a reality. We were in one of the biggest cities in the world. Everything that we had only seen in pictures and movies was now a reality for us. It was overwhelming. New York is HUGE, and we were left in awe. We didn’t realize just how much pictures and movies can’t do the city justice until we had actually arrived.
Now magnify that feeling times, like, a billion. I feel like that’s close to what the shepherds must have felt like when the angels appeared in the sky to tell them God’s promise was being fulfilled. For pretty much all of human history, mankind could only go off a promise. They had to trust in a God whose timing is always perfect, but whose timing is definitely way different from ours.
Israel knew that God would redeem them and reunite them after the seperation resulting from the fall of Adam and Eve. They had seen glimpses of God’s dedication to keeping that promise: the flood, the plagues in Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea. But for generations, God had been silent. Not only had the people of Israel not seen Him act, but they had not heard Him speak, either. Five hundred long years had passed since the prophet Malachi had been given a message from God.
But with Christ’s birth, God’s silence was broken. A glorious heavenly dam had burst and spilled out into the sky. At long last, the promise wasn’t just a promise. It was a reality. It was HERE. What must it have been like to be a shepherd in that field that night!
Israel knew God was coming for them. But they couldn’t imagine the weight that would be lifted from our souls until He actually arrived. It wasn’t until Christ’s birth that the reality could truly sink in: Oh, Lord, You’re really doing it. You are HERE. For US. For ME.
The moment Christ entered this world, everything changed. We went from promise to reality. It was the first time, in all of human history, that we truly had the chance to understand the absolute magnitude of what God was doing, all so we could be with Him, and He with us, for eternity.
The God of the Universe transformed His son into a tiny baby to endure all the indignities, pains, heartaches, and injustices that a person faces in life. To be tortured, killed, and then sent to wage—and win—the battle for our salvation.
That’s what our soul is worth.