“I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” (John 17:4–5, KJV 1900)
Today is Christmas Eve. When I consider Christmas, I think of the things that most Christians contemplate, the birth of Christ in Bethlehem. However, my thoughts are often taken a little deeper. I think of the place that Jesus left to be born in a Bethlehem stable.
Henry Barraclough wrote a hymn in 1915 titled, “Ivory Palaces.” He took this thought from Psalm 45, a Psalm that speaks of the eternal reign of the Messiah, Jesus. Verse 8 of the Psalm states, “All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, Out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad” (Psalm 45:8, KJV 1900). To me the refrain of Barraclough’s hymn paints a picture of the miracle of Christmas.
Out of the ivory palaces,
Into a world of woe,
Only His great eternal love
Made my Savior go.
We do not often consider that the sacrifice of Jesus began at His incarnation. We need to think about what Jesus left to be our Savior. In heaven with the Father, Jesus radiated with the fullness of God’s glory. He experienced the infinite riches, beauty, tranquility, and sinless perfection of heaven. The multitude of the heavenly host worshipped and glorified Jesus. He experienced no pain or sorrow. He was never rejected or persecuted in any way.
As beautiful as heaven is, our Savior chose to leave that place of infinite blessing, fully understanding the plan set out before Him. He left heaven and was born in the lowliest of circumstances in a Bethlehem stable and laid in an animal feed trough for a bed. He would live in a sin fallen world full of pain and misery. He would be tempted in every way and yet He never sinned. He would be rejected of men, accused of a crime He did not commit, be falsely tried, determined not-guilty, and still sentenced to be crucified. He died on a cross carrying the agonizing guilt of our sins on Himself.
Why did He do it? Why did He leave the glories of heaven to endure all of this? He did it for us. Barraclough captured the thought perfectly. “Only His great eternal love made my Savior go.”
When I think of Christmas, I reflect on the blessing of Christ’s love for me. He left the glories of heaven and suffered for me. I hope that all who read this blog will rejoice and give thanks this Christmas for the great eternal love of our Savior.
Have a Merry Christmas,
(I will pick up again with Hebrews on Monday December 28.)