Once, not so long ago for God I suppose, He did a very strange thing. On an ordinary day, the Lord, the Son of God, prepared to take His leave of heaven. I cannot say what the weather was like the day He left, but it must have been as still and noiseless as a falling star.
“What are you doing?” they must have asked Him. Those heavenly hosts who tended Him day and night had never seen such a strange and witless thing from their all-knowing God. For as they watched, He disrobed. In front of them—shameless as a naked baby—He, the living God of all creation, stood poised and prepared for immortal manhood. Such a foreign thought: The Supreme Confident was now approachable, naked, and alone.
“Where are you going?” they must have asked Him. Leave? Now? This royal Prince? Dressed like that? The shame of it all. Could He not see the shame of exposing Himself to gaping eyes?
“Let us dress you, Sovereign,” they implored. “Won’t you take a cloak or robe?”
“No,” said the Lord of All. “I’ll have no need of a robe. Swaddling clothes will do nicely, thank you.”
Swaddling clothes? An old blanket torn into rags? But they did not question. Their only desire: to obey.
I do not know what their curious minds supposed. But I can imagine. And I imagine they asked an honest and innocent question:
“Where, holy Lord? Where are You going?”
And now, He answered in tones of compassion and understanding, language steeped in love.
“I am going for a climb,” said the Prince.
The angels puzzled among themselves about this unusual declaration. A climb? Where? How? How could He who is the First and Last—the Creator of every high and lofty venue—climb any higher?
The Son noticed their silent wonderings and answered them by raising His arm and pointing. The Prince of Peace stretched and reached and pointed down toward a dark and lonely place.
“There,” said the royal Prince.
“There? But Lord,” they must have said, “That is a manger. Such a small place for Infinite Light to rest. Such a rude and sorry site.” A dark place, indeed, soaked with the smell of dung and urine, an acrid stench not fit to pass His royal senses.
And then it happened. He could wait no longer.
At that moment—at that very moment in time—a barefoot Prince, the sovereign Lord of all eternity, stepped into the funk and futility of feeble men. He walked unashamedly across the cold threshold of time and space and willingly climbed into His bed of straw and servanthood.
One of the angels began a chorus. “Joy to the world, the Lord is come. Let heaven and nature sing…”
And all the angels joined in unison.
And heaven and nature sang.
And the Light of the world was born.
Hell squinted at the brightness. The light of that Son drove devils from their ghoulish slumber. They sheepishly peeked at this resting, naked Lamb. “Shame on you,” said the demons. “Shame! Shame on you!”
And the Lamb of God said, “Yes. Yes, I know.”