I love to think of that first Christmas when our Savior entered this world as a lowly man. We grow up learning of the shepherds who got to behold not just one, but a whole chorus of shining angels in the sky. The star that shone so magnificently above Bethlehem, pointing the way to the Babe. Mary and Joseph in the dirty stable where God so tenderly placed His Son into their open arms.
It isn’t hard to imagine the sounds of that time. The sheep bleating, the shepherd’s fire crackling, a babe crying, and the glorious sound of angels praising the Most High. The scurrying feet as people from Bethlehem came to see what all the commotion was about. The sounds of awe as folks beheld the three Wise Men from the East, coming to worship the little Child.
These are sounds of joy, yet there were more sounds which we like to gloss over when reading the Nativity story.
Sounds of Herod the king shouting out the order of annihilation to babes. Sounds of Rachel weeping for her children because they were no more. Sounds of an army sweeping through Bethlehem. Killing, death, and blood. Sounds of a frightened couple who took their child and fled.
How can one story be so beautiful and so sad at the same time? Sometimes true beauty cannot be seen until the story has been completed.
More sounds of Christmas follow down through the years. Waves lapping against a boat on the Sea of Galilee, hunger satisfied as multitudes are fed, the devil’s laughter as he corners the Messiah in the desert, and shouts of praise as death is defeated at the tomb of Lazarus. People rejoicing because they are healed, a centurion bowing in submission to a Nazarene, high priests plotting the death of the Chosen One.
The splitting sound of a hammer pounding in the spikes that nailed the Galilean to the cross. Sounds of heartbreak, sorrow, and death once again.
The sound as the veil of the temple was torn in two when Jesus whispered, “It is finished.” Sounds of thunder as an earthquake shook the mountain.
And finally, the sound of His last dying breath.
The sounds of Christmas seemed to be over. But God’s plan of redemption was not done as one more sound split the air.
The sound of Resurrection.
Sounds of pain and suffering, love and sorrow continue down through the ages. But there will come a day when one sound will completely end the sound of Christmas.
The sound of the Trumpet.
It is then, and only then, that we will see the true beauty – for the story of Christmas will be completed . . . . and the story of Eternity will be just beginning.