What came instead was a squirming messy, bloody baby. A baby! And born in a barn. You can bet that there were no OSHA inspectors making sure the place was spic and span. No Good Housekeeping seal of approval on that manger. No five star rating on that address. Instead of a magnificent monarch coming in splendor and pomp and circumstance; He was born in a stall, that as much as they may tried to tidy up, was still filled with the detritus of numerous animals. The dust, the dirt, the smell.
Unto us was born a baby. A king. Gritty and Glorious.
The King who was supposed to come with great heraldry came instead in the most ordinary of ways. Through the birth canal. Of a virgin teenager. And the proclamation of His birth was not announced to the high and mighty upstanding citizens of the time, but to sweaty, grimy lowly shepherds. By a band of angels, resplendent in their heavenly garb. Gritty and Glorious.
This same Jesus, born in poverty and living as a fugitive was the Son of the One True God. He came to give freedom to the captives. Sight to the blind. Life to the dead. And forgiveness of sins to all who would receive Him.
The free gift of life everlasting, the redemption that only the Spotless Lamb could give. These gifts He brought to a people who were living in a cesspool of sin. He willingly divested Himself of every heavenly right that He had. He chose to take off His garments of royalty and take on our earthly form and freely gave Himself up for our sakes. Gritty and Glorious.
What seemed to be a dichotomy Jesus seemlessly made into one. What looked to be oxymoronic and contradictory Jesus reconciled. A King coming as a baby. God becoming human. Appearing as an ordinary carpenter but having all the attributes of God. Strong and mighty, weak and lowly. Gritty and Glorious.
And all of this done for our benefit. God reaching down from a majestic heaven to touch those residing in decay and seediness. That by accepting His gratuitous sacrifice we could one day dwell with Him in heaven.
And He still reaches down to us. After having died an unimaginably painful death; beaten, abused, tortured for us, He now intercedes for us. He sees our weaknesses. He knows our faults. He understands our shortcomings. He sees the spiritual dirt underneath our fingernails. He knows that like a dog, we sometimes return to our vomit. But He also knows that grace covers all things. That our sins were forgiven, once for all. That though we may stumble, though we may fall, though we may roll around in the mud and slime occasionally, His love for us will see us through. That though we may find ourselves off track, His love will guide us home. That we will truly 'taste and see that the Lord is good'. That we will rise up out of the grit and choose to walk in His glory, here and now. This earthly attire we live in, inhabited by the Spirit of God. Gritty and Glorious.