For several years our church put on a big Christmas show for kids and families. Between the drama, choreography, costumes and sets these musicals were always a big deal and always a blast. But one thing I learned quickly about productions, the bigger the show, the earlier you have to get the ball rolling.
This meant that back in June I’d start listening to Christmas music. By July I’d have to start the script. In September we would cast the show. In October we’d start rehearsals. In the midst of all of this we’d have to get people working on costumes, sets and props.
When opening night arrived, though, it was all worth it. All of the months of hard work finally paid off the minute the lights came up on the stage and the show began. Live theater at Christmas was absolute magic.
Of course when it comes to the Christmas story, the principles of preparation and payoff are nothing new. The story of Jesus’ birth began a whole lot earlier than Bethlehem. “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ” (Ephesians 1:4 NLT).
Like I said, the bigger the production, the earlier you have to get the ball rolling. What God was going to do through Jesus was beyond the scope of anything we could imagine. All the power and awesomeness of deity would one day be wrapped in an infant’s fragile flesh. Kind of a big deal.
So God began, well, before the beginning.
In other words, even before God set the universe in motion, you were on his mind. Before the planets started spinning, God was already preparing. What was he preparing? A way that jacked up people like you and me could experience the love and presence of a perfect God.
From the very first pages of God’s story we see the hints of the rescuer who would come. In the Garden of Eden God promised than an offspring of Eve would one day crush evil under his foot, which meant that all of the mess and suffering we find ourselves in could somehow be undone.
Hope was on the way before we even knew we needed it. And from God’s perspective all of the years of preparation before the big opening night in the manger were more than worth it for the pay-off of a relationship with you.
A major production? You bet. Christmas magic? Absolutely.