A different Christmas story.

An angel appeared to the Lord with a concern about the Lord’s people. The Lord met with him to address his concerns. “Lord, I have seen that they have cold hearts and cannot forgive. What should we do?”

“I’ve also seen this,” said the Lord. “We will send them a messenger to teach them to forgive even the worst of betrayals.”

“Yes Lord. I will choose a messenger from among the strongest, wisest and brightest.”

But the Lord said, “No do not look to their strength and wisdom. If we chose that way, then it would only make them work harder to gain strength and wisdom on their own. I love them as they are, in all their weakness. Look instead into their hearts. Choose Joseph, the smallest of his brothers, and allow his brothers to betray him deeply. Then I will give him a heart of forgiveness years later and the people will learn that I grant to them the power to forgive and they will never forget.”

The angel did as the Lord said, but later became concerned again. “Lord, I see that the people are in captivity and are frightened because they lack the strength or cunning to free themselves.”

“I’ve also seen this,” said the Lord. “We will send a messenger to persuade their oppressors and free them from captivity. He will also deliver to them my law.”

“Yes Lord. I will choose the most gifted speaker and powerful advocate.”

But the Lord said, “No do not look at their ability to speak and the power of their words. Look instead to their heart. Choose Moses, who struggles with his speech. And send his brother Aaron with him since he also struggles with his confidence. Then I will give him words to speak, and confidence to deliver my messages to his oppressors. And the people will know that I love them, and that I will replace their weakness with strength through me and they will never forget.”

The angel did as the Lord said, but later became concerned again. “Lord, I see that the people are afraid of the enemies that surround them and that they will not be able to enter the land you’ve promised to them.”

“I’ve also seen this,” said the Lord. “We will send a messenger to teach them that their victories are won only through me because I love them.”

“Yes Lord. I will choose the most gifted military leaders to send them into battle, and equip them with the most powerful weapons ever known to man.”

But the Lord said, “No, do not choose their most gifted military leaders, and do not equip them with any weapons at all. Instead, look to the heart of their leaders and choose Joshua to lead them to war with nothing but trumpets, and then they will know that I love them and will deliver them to victory by means they would never have imagined on their own and they will never forget.”

The angel did as the Lord said, but later became concerned again. “Lord, your people face an incredible army with the fiercest of all warriors known to man. They are frozen in fear.”

“I’ve also seen this,” said the Lord. “We will send a messenger to them to tell them that they can rely on me to deliver victory over even the most powerful of warriors.”

“Yes Lord. I will choose the most powerful warrior among your people and adorn him with the best weapons and armor to ensure his victory.”

But the Lord said, “No do not choose the most powerful warrior, but instead choose a man with a good heart. We will choose David, a mere shepherd boy and the smallest of his brothers, and send him into battle without so much as a single piece of armor and the slightest of weapons. That way, the people will know that I love them and will deliver them from even their fiercest of their enemies in ways they would never imagine, and they will never forget.”

The angel did as the Lord said, but the people did forget. Time and again the angel went to the Lord and the Lord would send the least likely of messengers to the people so that they knew the Lord loved them as they were and did not seek out the greatest among them, but instead sought those with the greatest heart. But the people continued to forget, and the angel went to the Lord because the people had fallen into the deepest sin the angel had ever seen.

“Lord I am without any words and do not even know what to pray for. You have shown them your love so many times and yet they are steeped in sin. Is there anything left to do but punish them severely for their sins? I fear this is the only thing you can do that they will not forget.”

The Lord thought for a time and his face fell into sadness. He said to the angel, “You are right that they must answer for their sins. But their sins are too great and I promised before that I would never destroy them outright. We will instead have one man answer for all of their sins so that the world may see it.”

The angel accepted the Lord’s command and said, “Yes Lord. I will choose the most sinful from among them and bring him before the keepers of the law so that he might be publicly punished and put to death for the world to see. And then they will not forget.”

But the Lord said, “Is it you who has forgotten as well? Do not choose the most sinful among them, but instead look to their heart. We will instead send one who is entirely without sin and has the purest of hearts.”

“Lord forgive me but I do not see even one who is entirely without sin and with a pure heart.”

The Lord’s face fell further into sadness as he turned to his right and stared intently for a moment. When he turned back to the angel his face was wet with tears. The angel pleaded, “Lord no. Forgive me but it cannot be. It simply cannot be.”

“Make way for him,” said the Lord.

The angel fell into sadness and said, “Lord if it is your will then let it be so. But I beg that you please allow me to prepare an arrival fit for a king so that the people will see the magnitude of your sacrifice for them.”

But instead, the Lord instructed the angel to prepare the way of the most humble of births in the harshest of conditions so that the people would see that he loved them not for their grandeur but in their most broken condition. This way, the people would never forget.

The angel did as the Lord said, and called for a census to be taken such that the birth might take place where the Lord had commanded.

And to this day, many of the people have still not forgotten.

Have you?

Photo credit: https://ellynbaker.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/crying-angel.jpg
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