The wonder of Christmas—the epiphany, the world shattering and heart-stopping truth—is that we're celebrating a Baby.
He was born to a virgin, a teenager, who received the news of her pregnancy from a heavenly messenger. Over the next nine months, she must have spent time wondering over the child who was hidden in her womb, wondering who He would be, what He would become, and how He would be King.
She must have felt fear about being guardian of something so sacred, so great, so precious.
Joseph, engaged to be married, found his bride-to-be had conceived a child, and he was not the father. He planned a human response, but his course was changed by a heavenly directive. Instead of separation, he stayed with her and took care of her. The future was hidden, and he had no idea what it would mean to be the father of One who would save His people from their sins, but he was faithful.
Zechariah and Elizabeth, childless for their entire married lives, had been presented with the gift of a son, a man who would turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. But they didn't know how it would happen, nor could they predict the cruelty of his death. The destiny of their baby boy was hidden.
Bethlehem, teeming with native residents summoned by census, was full to the brim. From all around, men brought their wives and children, and every bed in the entire city was occupied. Joseph, terrified by the prospect of an overly pregnant wife, begged and pleaded until he found an innkeeper who was willing to let him stay in the stables. They moved in with the animals, hidden from every eye around by the odor and the dirt.
Shepherds watched their flocks in the wild darkness, hidden from the city as their smell was too much and their manners not enough.
Angels, hidden in the backstage corners of heaven, waited for the greatest curtain call that has ever been made, that will ever be made.
Wise men, masters of astronomy and prophecy, examined the heavens and waited patiently for the king who was to come. Disappointed that he was still hidden, they still searched.
Anna in the temple, hoped for her hidden Savior.
Simeon, hoping, trusting, clutching to a promise that he would live to see his Lord, Who was still hidden away.
Suddenly, in the lonely darkness, surrounded by munching animals, Mary gave birth to the Baby the world awaited but wasn't expecting.
His future was hidden, his personality hidden, likely even his face was hidden in the darkness.
He was the Child born to be King. But His entire entry to the world that He came to rescue was announced only by angels, and insignificant to all besides some smelly shepherds, a few rich men far away, and two old people hanging around the temple. His birth was hidden from the public eye. Wrapped in newborn's rags, He spent his first night in the world full of people he loved surrounded by the lowest of society.
He didn't come to be the conquerer, the conquistador, the lauded victor. He came to save His people from their sins, to be sin for them, that they might live.
He was hidden, but His birth and death was the most important gift we have ever received, and will ever receive.
He was hidden, but His life held the mightiest purpose.
He was hidden, but He was King.
For Him, we can be hidden, for He gave His life for us. For Him, we can say, "More of You, and less of me." For Him, we can celebrate this Christmas in the rich joy of knowing that all is not lost, that we were not forgotten, that we are loved and redeemed.
And for Him, we can be thankful. For at the very first Christmas, in a hay-filled manger surrounded by awe, God gave us His best.