It all started in a garden. It started when a man and a woman became restless and craved the one thing they could not have. It all started when the man and woman believed a lie; believed they could be equal to their Maker. In disobeying, they made a choice that said they didn’t need their Maker. Instead, their shame was exposed and their mission became one of hiding from the One with whom they used to commune. Because their Maker, in all of His purity and holiness, couldn’t look upon sin, He sent them out of the garden.
But He didn’t leave them. Not when their descendants murdered, lusted, and stole. Not when they began worshipping idols of their own creation or pursuing carnal passions. Not when they broke His law or mocked His name or turned to wickedness for satisfaction. Not even when the Enemy began reigning in the hearts of mankind.
Eventually, God regretted making man in His image. He grieved how far mankind had fallen, so He hand-picked one righteous man and His family and spared them while he destroyed the rest of the earth by flood. But even those who came after the flood turned from Him and reverted back to the things that break His heart. Sorcerers, demonic possessors, and evil kings arose. They allowed the Enemy to infiltrate their minds and harden their hearts. And for the faithful few who earnestly sought God and wanted to know Him, all seemed hopeless.
But God had a plan. A plan He set in motion as soon as the first man and woman ate the forbidden fruit of darkness. A plan He followed in causing a flood and freeing His people when they were caught in captivity.
A plan of redemption.
He began to speak through prophets, declaring a Savior would come. He revealed signs and wonders to His people, promising that, if they would hold on just a little bit longer, rescue would come and darkness would be drowned out by the Light.
But then there was silence. Silence. Complete, utter silence that lasted four-hundred years. Four centuries of wondering when this promised Messiah would come. Several generations of tested faith in Someone who was unseen and unheard.
Until one night.
It happened in a dusty stable in a tiny town crowded with weary travelers. The Word that spoke the universe into existence became flesh and entered into the world as an infant. If you didn’t know any better, you would have simply heard a baby cry as you passed by the stable. But if you listened closely, you’d know it was so much more:
It was a battle cry.
When the incarnation of God opened His mouth, His cry split open the darkness and shattered four-hundred years of silence. God became man and issued a battle cry. Through tiny lungs, God declared, “I have come to bring my people back to me and I will not be defeated.”
You see, the Enemy thought he had the upper hand. Four hundred years without a word from God? That was plenty of time to gain false confidence. But imagine the night the Savior was born. Can you hear it? Can you hear the tiny Baby’s cry? Can you hear legions upon legions of angels shouting and clanging symbols and praising God? Can you hear shepherds’ feet shuffling through the streets as they ran to see the One born King of the Jews?
In the midst of agony, pain, and questions, the Savior made His entrance. And as He grew up and continued fulfilling His plan of redemption, the Enemy worked harder than ever. The Savior didn’t resemble a fierce warrior or a ruthless conqueror like some people were expecting. Instead, The Savior was like an innocent Lamb, full of gentleness and grace and mercy. But the Enemy worked his way into the hearts of the people to whom this gentle Savior ministered until eventually the Savior was put to death.
Whips tore through His flesh and His hands were secured to a splintered cross by thick nails. People rallied around Him, spitting and cursing. As His cross was raised and He struggled for breath, the Enemy began to celebrate. It appeared that the Savior couldn’t save Himself.
But with the words “It is finished!” God issued His battle cry once again. An earthquake shook the ground and the sun hid itself. The temple veil tore from top to bottom as God said, “Nothing will separate my people from Me. Nothing can hold Me back. I will not be defeated.”
And if you know what happened next, you know that’s true. Jesus defeated death when He came back to life three days later, showing the Enemy that True Love knows no limits. True Love is willing to enter the arena to fight for the ones He loves. True Love is willing to get His hands dirty and die in the place of those He loves. True Love offers a way for His people to come back to Him, even when those people refuse to acknowledge His presence.
The battle cry has sounded, and one day soon, as trumpets sound and He returns to this sphere of dirt and water, He will take His people with Him. The King will reign forever.
He’s already won the battle, but because of His great love for us, He’s giving us a chance to return to Him.
2,000 years ago, He molded Himself into bones and flesh and organs. He filled Himself with blood and tucked Himself inside a sack of skin. He harnessed all of His power, all of His might and majesty, inside the feeble muscles of an infant. In doing this, He said, “Look how far I will go. Look what I will do to show you how much I want you – how much I love you. I am willing to break apart the skies and enter your world and carry your pain in order to bring you to Me.”
Is your restless and weary soul searching for answers? Does constant joy seem elusive or impossible? Do the troubles of the world weight heavy on your shoulders, and you can’t find relief?
Do you hear His call? Do you hear Him whisper, return to Me, My beloved? Will you answer His call?
If you haven’t returned to the arms of your Creator, then there is a battle for your soul happening right now. The Enemy shrieks and yanks and bullies and tries to persuade you into living for the moment, but God gently whispers to you, inviting you to live for something so much greater.
Four hundred years of silence were broken by a battle cry emanating from a newborn baby. God became man so that man could be with God. He came to bring His people back to Himself. The victory belongs to the King. Gloria in excelsis Deo! Glory to God in the highest!
May you experience true joy this Christmas as you celebrate His advent and thank Him for the lengths His love will go to redeem His people.
“The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned…
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.”
– Isaiah 9:2; 6-7