A Long Way Down
I would imagine that it’s a long way down. A long way down from heaven’s golden gates to earth’s green grass. I can’t quite wrap my mind around exactly how far it is, but I bet for us it would have been quite the road trip. For God however, I don’t think the distance bothers him that much. I bet being God and all, He gets pretty good gas mileage. Also, the whole omnipresent thing probably helps shorten trips down as well. The Christmas story is full of journeys. God journeying to earth. Mary and Joseph journeying to Bethlehem. You journeying to your in laws house while swinging wildly in the backseat trying to swat misbehaving kids. Still, even for God, I think it was a long way down.
Not necessarily in distance. He’s God and distance probably isn’t a big deal to the one who makes galaxies a place to sit, and planets a place to prop his feet. It was a long way down however, not in distance but in status. Not in miles but in comfort. He left his peace in heaven to come down to the broken pieces of earth. He left heavenly choirs singing a hallelujah chorus to hear the bleating of sheep in a town called Bethlehem. He left a palatial heavenly place to find that there was no room for him in an Inn. He would leave a place of angelic worship to come to his own and his own wouldn’t receive him. It raises the question, why in God’s green earth would God ever come to visit His own green earth. It’s not that green any way. In fact, it’s pretty dark at times.
It’s not green the way Eden was. It’s not green the way He intended it to be. It’s dark sometimes. It’s a long way down from the story He told. One day God began telling a story, He told a story about sun and moons, He told a story about stars and galaxies, He told a story about planets, plants, animals, and people. He told a great story. A story about people that would live in harmony with one another, him, and His creation. A story about relationship and harmony, provision and health, about wonder and worship. The story would experience a twist when the people he loved would experienced a fall. We fell a long way down.
Why would He come so far down? He came a long way down because people would be a long way down. He came a long way down for those who are in the depths of poverty and despair wondering if anyone up there hears any of their prayers for help down here. He came a long way down for the good hard working middle class people who drive minivans and hybrids. They’ve got enough and their further along than what their parents were at this age, but they’re a long way from Eden. A long way from Him and His story. He came for people who are by comparison much higher in class. He came for people who live in gated and whited and well manicured sepulchers. But not even the gates can keep out the darkness of loneliness, or anxiety, or anger or resentment. The lawn is doing well, but the nice landscape can’t help hide the fact that they are a long way down. He came for the poor, the middle class, the wealthy. Because regardless of how high up we are, compared to Eden, we are all a long way down.
Why would He come a long way down? Because He is Emmanuel, God with us. Not a God that voyeuristically watches from a distance, but a God that comes near. Why in God’s green earth would he come this far down? Because I was a long way down. He would leave a heavenly mountain to visit Calvary’s hill. He would leave robes and crowns for a thorns and nails. He would leave adoring and loyal angels for fickle and angry people. I can’t quite wrap my head around why you would come so far down, but I’m sure glad you did. I don’t know what it is about our voices that’s so different from the angels that you traveled so far to hear us, but on this Christmas Eve we say welcome. I’m not for sure what’s so different about our worship that it makes angels jealous and you came this far to receive it, but on this Christmas Eve we have gathered to worship. We’ve gathered to say welcome, welcome to God’s green earth. We’re glad your here.