I’d like to share a J.B. Philips fantasy story told by Philip Yancey in his book “The Jesus I Never Knew”.
In the first chapter (Birth: The Visited Planet, pg 43, 44), Yancey told of a senior angel showing a very young angel around the splendors of the universe. They view whirling galaxies and blazing suns, and then flit across the infinite distances of space until at last they enter one particular galaxy of 500 billion stars.
As the two of them drew near to the star which we call our sun and to its circling planets, the senior angel pointed to a small and rather insignificant sphere turning very slowly on its axis. It looked as dull as a dirty tennis-ball to the little angel, whose mind was filled with the size and glory of what he had seen.
“I want you to watch that one particularly,” said the senior angel, pointing with his finger.
“Well, it looks very small and rather dirty to me,” said the little angel. “What’s special about that one?”
He listened in stunned disbelief as the senior angel told him that this planet, small and insignificant and not overly clean, was the renowned Visited Planet.
“Do you mean that our great and glorious Prince … went down in Person to this fifth-rate little ball? Why should He do a thing like that?”…
The little angel’s face wrinkled in disgust. “Do you mean to tell me,” he said, “that He stooped so low as to become one of those creeping, crawling creatures of that floating ball?”
“I do, and I don’t think He would like you to call them ‘creeping, crawling creatures’ in that tone of voice. For, strange as it may seem to us, He loves them. He went down to visit them to lift them up to become like Him.”
The little angel looked blank. Such a thought was almost beyond his comprehension.
* * *
It’s incomprehensible to me, too. The more I think of what Jesus did on that first Christmas, the more I realize how small we are in the eyes of the universe, and yet I realize how huge His love is for us. And that, for me, is the very essence of Christmas — that unfathomable decision that Jesus had to make just so that we can live with Him for eternity when we accept Him as our Savior and Lord.
May our Christmas be filled with love, gifts and yes, Christ.