The Ancient of Days
by Pr. Dave Mann
We know the story of the birth of Jesus – the babe born in Bethlehem. We celebrate this great event. The King of kings is born in a humble stable. The location of the birth of the Messiah was predicted centuries prior in Micah 5:2-4. That is the passage that the chief priests referenced when King Herod asked that they advise him at the inquiry of the magi. And this prophetic word also acknowledged the pattern of humility – "But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel." Jesus’ teaching would continue to underscore the importance of humility among his followers.
But there is more; don’t miss it. Christmas is not the start of the Son of God. Even as early as the prophetic word of Micah, we read clearly that the Messiah would not simply be an extraordinary human being. But he is the One "whose coming forth [is] from of old, from ancient days." (ESV) This phrase “The Ancient of Days” appears as an actual title no fewer than three times in Daniel 7, referring to the Lord God himself who has existed from before all time and for all eternity. Jesus’ birth is not a mere beginning; it is a transition, a change of venue, an amazing entrance of the second person of the eternal Triune God onto the scene of human history – accepting the limitations of human flesh and bones so that he might become one of us.
The Apostle Paul highlights this event of the incarnation when he quotes the early Christian hymn in Philippians 2:
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not count equality with God
a thing to be grasped,
but emptied himself,
by taking the form of a servant,
being born in the likeness of men.
The birth of Jesus, the incarnation, the arrival of the Son of God as a human being is a moment of deep awe and worship. Let us bow down in gratitude and wonder as we listen to the classic hymn, "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence."
Lord God Almighty, we can only imagine how the angels must have fallen prostrate at the moment of the incarnation. Grant us also to glimpse this holy mystery as The Ancient of Days deigns to accept human flesh. All glory and honor be yours. Amen.