Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
“‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
Okay. So, here’s this all-star performance just a couple of miles from Bethlehem. And I like how the NLT phrases it: Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others — the armies of heaven — praising God and saying: “glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” I’m wondering, with the exception of the Seraphim who were always attending to the Lord’s throne, (Isaiah 6) if God emptied out heaven for this once in an eternity light show, the birth of His Son?
Now with that many angels in the sky, why didn’t anyone else notice? It could have been as bright as day there. And as far as the volume level, it would’ve been off the charts. And the quality of the sound? Completely and utterly heavenly. As a musician, I like to think that the angels sang this announcement; but alas, it says that they were “Praising God and saying.” But what they were saying and how they said it had to have been out-of-this-world beautiful.
Notice at the beginning of this passage, just one angel appeared, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory was so great, they were terrified. Imagine what the radiance level would be with all of heaven’s armies gathered in one place. And I ask again, why didn’t anyone else see it? And with all of them, with one voice praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased,” why didn’t anyone else hear it?
I suppose there are two answers: God didn’t want them to hear, or they couldn’t hear. Now if God didn’t want anyone else to hear, I suppose there are couple reasons for that. First of all, He would not want Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus to be overwhelmed by the entire town trying to see the sight. Second, He wanted one of the lowest of low segments of society to be the first to hear the Good News. And third, He wanted the same guys to be the first to tell the Good News.
The second option would be that the citizens of Bethlehem couldn’t hear. Now it’s not that they were all wearing noise-canceling headphones. Pretty sure those were not around at this point. So, it didn’t have to do with the hearing, it had to do with their hearts. After 400 years of silence they had gotten used to not hearing from God. They went on with their lives, did their weekly rituals, but there was no room for something new. Their hearts were closed off.
Keep your hearts open this Christmas. May there be an opportunity for you to hear God speak, for you to see what God is doing, and then join Him.
Missed yesterday’s post? Read about Christmas’ impact on eternity.