Dear God, several years ago, I had a thought. It started with the Christmas story and the shepherds. I wondered what would have happened if, instead of going to the shepherds in the fields with the angel chorus, you had gone to the church leaders or governmental leaders. What if you had gone to the private businessmen who were prominent in the church and announced to them that a savior was born that night? Had I overlooked how strategically important it was that you had chosen shepherds?
Then I started to think about Mary and Joseph, probably living outside of town in a tent or something while they were in Bethlehem for the census. All of a sudden, she goes into labor and has to go to a stable because they can’t find a room to rent for the night in which she can deliver the baby. But did the shepherds know of the pregnant couple visiting Bethlehem? Had they seen Mary and Joseph?
So now my mind was really clicking as I thought about these things. What if? What if? What if?
I suppose it starts with what our human wisdom would have done to bring about the Messiah. What if you had brought the idea to the temple’s leadership and asked them to submit plans for bringing your son into the world. I can see a few options they probably would have put on the table.
- He should be born to a righteous priest and his wife. They would probably first ask, “Do we have any priests who are descendants of David?” Then the boy should be raised in the church and taught all of the doctrine that had been handed down over the years. He will ultimately become the leader of the church and will evolve into the leader of a great army that will topple Rome and bring about the revival of Israel. Yes, that is how it should happen.
- He should be born to a prominent family where the father is a descendant of David. Like Samuel, his family will ensure that he is brought to the temple be raised. He will be taught all of the doctrine that had been handed down over the years. He will ultimately become the leader of the church and will evolve into the leader of a great army that will topple Rome and bring about the revival of Israel. Yes, that is how it should happen.
- Another group would probably questions why he should be born at all. Let him appear among us. God’s Messiah will come to us straight from Heaven. He will ultimately become the leader of the church and will evolve into the leader of a great army that will topple Rome and bring about the revival of Israel. Yes, that is how it should happen.
The ideas would flow for a while and then you would say, “No, no. You don’t understand…
- If he has an earthly father, he will not have my DNA. You don’t realize this can happen, but his mother will need to be impregnated by the Holy Spirit. He is my son, not yours. Yes, we will be playing a little loosely with the line of David part, but we can get a woman who is married to someone from David’s lineage. That will be close enough. Of course, in order to prove it’s my child, the mother will need to be a virgin until after he is born, but I can do that. No problem.
- If he is born into a priestly family, he is going to be raised in the box of the religion that you’ve created over the past three thousand years. No, no priests. Maybe we can give him a cousin from a priestly family. That will be close enough.
- If he is born into a family of wealth, he won’t understand suffering. He will expect privilege. Additionally, a prominent earthly father will feel the pressure to leave him in the church and then I’m right back where I started with him growing up in the box of religion. Also, you don’t realize it, but this kid will spend the first few years of his life on the run. I need a family that is willing to be flexible.”
“No,” you’ll continue, “here’s what I have in mind…
- First, I’ve known all along what I’m going to do. I just wanted to see what y’all would come up with. When they look back on his time on Earth, some people will look back and think that things were orchestrated intentionally to fulfill the prophecies about him, but the truth is that I’ve been planning this all along and I gave prophets of the past insights into the future so that after it happened, all of you would know that I know exactly what’s going on and what I’m doing.
- To that end, the first priority is that I need him to be raised by good people. I mean REALLY good people. I need people who love me and will do anything for me. I need people who are willing to do the right thing at any given moment, whether it makes sense or not. I’ve got a guy picked out that you won’t believe. And the woman–well, she’s exactly who I need.
- On the night he is born, I need a way to affirm his parents and to let people know that this was real. There’s going to have to be an announcement, but I need to pick my audience carefully. What I’m going to do is announce it to the shepherds out in the fields. I can’t have the angels show up singing over the stable and if I send them to the people in town then they might try to take the baby from the parents. If that happens, the plan is dead. But the shepherds will go and find the parents. They will tell them what they saw and it will encourage this sweet young couple that I’m with them.
- You don’t realize this, but it will be important that he is raised poor. He will see suffering. He will see sickness. He will see prostitution. He will be an immigrant, living in a foreign land for his formative years. He will know what it’s like to be an outsider and have his feelings hurt. He will know what it’s like to know Egyptians and people from other nations and love them. He will know that I’ve sent him to be the Messiah for everyone, not just the Jews.
- I also need to keep him poor and obscure while he is younger because I’ve got to keep the kings of the time from killing him out of jealousy and fear. I have no intention of taking away the thrones I’ve given them, but they don’t know that. I’m actually sending him to save them too.
“So here’s my plan. I’ve got this couple picked out. You wouldn’t know it to look at them, but they are perfect. I can’t tell you who they are yet because if I do you won’t be able to keep yourselves from messing everything up with your wisdom. They will end up having to move around a lot his first few years because his life will be in danger. In fact, a lot of innocent children are going to die at the hand of a jealous king. I’ve already seen it. But they will be in my arms.
“He is going to grow up and keep a low profile until he is about 30. Then he will take everything he’s learned through the experiences he’s had and the DNA he has as my child and preach truth. It’s going to surprise you. He’s going to tear down some of the things that religion has built over the last 3,000 years. He’s going to reveal my heart for all of mankind to you.
“Now this part is going to surprise you, but he is ultimately going to die. There will be no wars. No armies. No overthrowing of Rome. See, you don’t need a man to lead you to victory. You need a lamb that will be your salvation. In fact, it will be the very church that you wanted to raise him that will kill him. In the end, the Romans won’t want to do it, but the church will insist that they do. It will be the church’s jealousy and insecurity, not Rome’s, that will take his life. But that’s what you need. You just don’t realize it.
“Finally, because he is my son, and because I am God and I am capable of doing so much more than you could ever have imagined for this plan, I am going to raise him from the dead. After this happens, history will completely shift. You’ll be amazed.”
Father, I’m a Gentile, sitting here on this Christmas Eve roughly 2,000 years after you put your plan into action. It worked. I have chills as I type this. You are my God. Thank you.
In Jesus’ name I pray,