Venite Adoremus

“In the City of David, a child is born.”  These are the words enshrined in Luke’s Gospel forever.  But as we sit and reflect on them, we realize that there is more to this message than a proclamation of Christ’s birth.  The second of many prophecies about the Messiah has been fulfilled.  The first of course was, “A virgin shall conceive . . . “

When we ask ourselves, “Why does Luke want us to know that a child is born in the City of David, other than to prove that the prophecies are being fulfilled one at a time,” we realize that Luke is telling the world that Jesus is real.  Unlike the gods of the pagans whose origins are mythical, Jesus’ human origins take place within human history, in a human city and at a very specific cave in the outskirts of Bethlehem.  The God who created history has broken into human history.  People may question Jesus’ divine origins, if they wish; however, there is no question about the reality of his existence.   Luke pinpoints it not only giving us an address, but also giving us a time.  He gives us a list of the prominent people of the time.  In doing so, he places Jesus into a social, political, cultural and religious context.  The birth of Christ is not an abstract.  It is a verifiable historical reality.Image

There are other important messages in Luke’s testament.  Caesar Augustus was the emperor.  It is an often forgotten fact that during the reign of Caesar Augustus there was a period of peace throughout the known world and that the emperor’s name referred to him as the savior or the August One in our language.  What we see here is how Roman history, helped set the stage for the birth of Christ.  God, in his divine and eternal wisdom, prepared the world to receive his son at a time of peace, which the pagans thought was designated for the emperor of Rome.  In reality, it was predesigned by the Father for the eternal King of the Universe.

I’d like to draw the attention to one more detail.  Christian iconography has adopted the ox and the ass as part of the manger scene.  The truth is that Luke does not mention any animals in his narrative.  However, the prophets had predicted that the ox and the ass would know their place, but the House of Israel would not recognize the savior.

The ox and the ass become the icon for the Gentiles and the Jews.  Christ had entered into the world for both; but one, being more stubborn than the other, would struggle to accept the Eternal Son of God as the promised Messiah.

Now, we must fast forward in time and ask ourselves, “What does this have to do with us in the 21st century and what is the message for us?”

Let’s take this in two parts. Let’s answer the first question.  God the Father knew us and loved us long before we were formed in our mother’s womb.  And so he sent His only begotten son into the world as one of us.  But he did not come just for the ox or the ass.  He came for Gentile and Jew alike.  He came to call all men and women, of every race and tongue, of every family and nation, back to the love of his Father.  He came to rescue all of us from sin.

Therefore, he was born with a price tag on his head.  This was the infant who was sentenced to death, at the time of his birth.  The scriptures foreshadow that Jesus must die.  Herod orders the slaughter of the innocent children.  Jesus is the innocent Son who 33 years after this night would be executed to break open the doors that barricaded man out of heaven, because of our sins.

The second part is equally important to us.  Jesus is not a figment of someone’s wild imagination, nor is he a legend.  He is a real child born in a real city at a very specific point in history to a very real mother.  As far as the eye of man was concerned, to a real father named Joseph.  For his divine sonship would only be discerned by those who believed.  It was there for everyone to see, but only those who desire to see shall see.  The blind shall remain blind, not through any fault of nature, but through their own choice or because those who have seen have failed to invite their neighbors to the stable to come and see.

The angels of whom Luke writes foreshadow the community of believers whom Christ would send into the world to proclaim the Good News that “Today in the City of David a son is born . . . venite adoremus”

Published in: on December 25, 2012 at 8:25 PM  Leave a Comment  

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