The wondrous Gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may hear His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still,
The dear Christ enters in.”
~O Little Town of Bethlehem, verse three
As the verse above proclaims, when Jesus came to redeem the souls of humankind, He did not come in any extravagant way, by earthly standards. Heaven didn’t crack open and start raining gold when Christ came down; the Hallelujah chorus did not shake the whole world awake that night. Instead, this gift of heaven came “silently”—that is, in seclusion and humble anonymity—to bless the faithful hearts of common people.
The line “So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His heaven” emphasizes that this is how our God chose to send our Savior. God could have saved us differently (or not saved us at all), but the Christmas story we know is the path He chose. Jesus didn’t descend fully grown, riding a golden chariot, as a warrior come to fight off the devil. He entered the world as we all do—as a small and helpless infant. And He was not even born to a monarch or a wealthy merchant. Born to a poor carpenter and young virgin, He began a dusty, unromantic life.
To me, the modesty of Jesus’s life makes Him even more worthy of our praise and obedience, because He lived what He commanded. Once this Bethlehem child was grown, He told us that the meek would be blessed; He told us to lay down our lives and make ourselves last. If He had said these things while living in a safe, luxurious palace, dominating the nations, having never wanted for anything in His life…well, His commands to mortals would seem horribly unfair.
But Jesus does not ask anything of us that He did not endure. Jesus Himself came to serve, not to be served, as made evident by His whole life: our King humbled Himself to be born in a manger, and He humbled Himself to die on a cross for us.
Just a little child in a little town: though no ear heard His coming, He is the heart of God’s redemption story. As we sing, we pray for Him to enter in again, so we may live with our dear Christ forever.
Written by Patricia Krecklow