Beyond Bethlehem: A Transcendental Christmas

Selah Series


"Oh, you're real, you're real! Oh, Aslan!" cried Lucy, and both girls flung

themselves upon him and covered him with kisses.

 "But what does it all mean?" asked Susan when they were somewhat


 "It means," said Aslan, "that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic,

there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes

back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further

back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would

have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when

a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor's

stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working

backwards.       From the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis


From the prophesy to the revelation. Today we will look beyond Bethlehem, beyond the silent night, beyond the manger. We will move deeper into Christmas, Deeper into faith, into understanding, into the wonder of God and the heavens. We will step out of the natural world and into the world of the prophets and the revealers, We will move from the natural birth of Jesus, I say natural only because Jesus was born as any of us were born through labor and pain into the love of human parents, we will move to the supernatural to the birth of salvation, the bridge, the one who will transcend the natural and the supernatural, born as a man given the one and only son of God, God himself given onto us. Now before I go any further I think I need to explain exactly what I mean; our lives, this planet, solar system, universe, and time itself occupy the natural world, sphere, plain. The supernatural is all that is beyond that, super-beyond nature. I know when you hear the word it is often associated with ghosts and other paranormal ideas but I want you to put those aside because that is not what we are talking about today. The supernature that which is beyond nature is a plain without time or dimension. Am I losing anyone here, because this is where I usually get lost. It is a place where the past present and future are one. It is a plain of omnipresence, omnipotence, omniscience. In other words it may interact with our world at any time or place, it knows all people and all things. It is a place where ours sins of today and tomorrow drive the nails into the cross of Christ. Let me say that again; it is a place where ours sins of today and tomorrow drive the nails into the hands of Jesus 2000 years ago, where our sins are the strips on His back, Our disbelief our hatred our selfishness is all filtered into the Sanhedrin into the people shouting for Christfs crucifixion. It is a plain separate but woven into our own natural plain of existence. This is Godfs territory, the plain of the great I@AM, the place where Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all truly one. The words and the understanding of this world cannot even begin to comprehend or explain. The interactions with this supernature are the prophesies, dreams, visions, and miracles of nature. If you want to learn more. There is a wonderful book by C.S. Lewis called Miracles. It will explain a lot of the details.@In his Narnia series we see a lot of the ideas of duel world, of nature and supernature, in a fun way, but the books really do have such truth to them when you search deeper. And I would encourage you to read them as well, before the movie comes out in March.


And this is where we come to when we talk about the birth of Christ. Lewis wrote it this way gThe whole thing narrows and narrows, until at last it comes down to a little point, small as the point of a spear – a Jewish girl at her prayersh All of nature and supernature come down to this point Mary, a daughter of eve accepting the will of God, this is the turning point in the cosmic battle. And her words g"I am the Lord's servant," "May it be to me as you have said." g resounded through both worlds The line from the carol gO Little Town of Bethlehemh says it clearly and seems as profoundly true today as it did two thousand years ago gThe hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonighth

So today we are going to use our imagination to take a peak into what was/is happening the moments before Christfs incarnation. In the book of Job we read of a conversation between God and Satan. With the help of a wonderful little book by Max Lucado called gAn Angelfs Storyh we will try to imagine the events that took place in the supernature just before Gabriel was sent to bring a message to a young faithful girl named Mary.



It starts with Gabriel. "

 Just the sound of my Kings voice stirred my heart. I left my post at the entryway and stepped into the throne room. To my left was the desk on which sat the Book of Life. Ahead of me was the throne of Almighty God. I entered the circle of unceasing Light, folded my wings before me to cover my face, and knelt before Him. "Yes, my Lord? "

 "You have served the kingdom well. You are a noble messenger. Never have you flinched in duty.

Never have you' flagged in zeal."

 I bowed my head, basking in the words. "Whatever You ask, I'll do a thousand times over' my King,". I promised.

 "Of that I have no doubt, dear messenger." His voice assumed a solemnity I'd never heard Him use.

"But your greatest work lies ahead of you. You, next assignment is to carry a gift to Earth. Behold."

 I lifted my eyes to see a necklace - a clear vial on a golden chain-dangling from His extended hand.

 My Father spoke earnestly, "Though empty, this vial will soon contain My greatest gift. Place it around your neck."

 I was about to take it when a raspy voice interrupted me. "And what treasure will You send to Earth this time?"

 My back stiffened at the irreverent tone, and my stomach turned at the sudden stench. Such foul odor could come from only one being.


The Father's hand on my shoulder stopped me. "Worry not Gabriel. He will do no harm"

I stepped back and stared at God's enemy. He was completely covered. A black cassock hung over his skeletal frame, hiding his body and arms and hooding his face. The feet, protruding beneath the robe, were thrice-toed and clawed. The skin on his hands was that of a snake. Talons extended from his fingers. He pulled his cape farther over his face as a shield against the Light, but the brightness still pained him. Seeking relief, he turned toward me. I caught a glimpse of a skullish face within the cowl.

 "What are you staring at, Gabriel?" he sneered. "Are you that glad to see me?"

 I had no words for this fallen angel. Both what I saw and what I remembered left me speechless. I remembered him before the Rebellion: poised proudly at the vanguard of our force, wings wide, holding forth a radiant sword, he had inspired us to do the same. Who could refuse him? The sight of his velvet hair and coal-black eyes had far outstripped the beauty of any celestial being.

 Any being, of course, except our Creator. No one compared Lucifer to God... except Lucifer. How he came to think he was worthy of the same worship as God, only God knows. All I knew was that I had not seen satan since the rebellion. And what I now saw repulsed me.

 I searched for just a hint of his former splendor but saw none.

 "Your news must be urgent," spat Satan to God, still unable to bear the Light.

 My Father's response was a pronouncement.

"The time has come for the second gift."

 The frame beneath the cape bounced stiffly as Lucifer chuckled. "The second gift, eh? I hope it works better than the first."

 ''You re disappointed with the first?" asked the Father.

 "Oh, quite the contrary,. I've delighted in it." Lifting a bony finger, he spelled a word in the air:    CH0ICE

 "You gave Adam his choice," Satan scoffed. And what a choice he made! He chose me. Ever since the fruit was plucked from the tree in the Garden, I've held Your children captive. They fell. Fast. Hard. They are mine. You have failed. Heh heh heh,

"You speak so confidently," replied the Father, astounding me with His patience.

 Lucifer stepped forward, his cloak dragging behind him. "Of course! I thwart everything You do. You soften hearts, I harden them. You teach truth, I shadow it. You offer joy, I steal it."

 He pivoted and paraded around the room, boasting of his deeds. "The betrayal of Joseph by his brothers -I did that. Moses banished to the desert after killing the Egyptian -I did that. David watching Bathsheba bathe -that was me. You must admit, my work has been crafty."

 "Crafty? Perhaps. But effective? No. I know what you will do even before you do it. I used the betrayal of Joseph to deliver My people from famine. Your banishment of Moses became his wilderness training. And yes, David did commit adultery with Bathsheba-but he repented of his sin! And thousands have been inspired by his example and found what he found-unending grace.

Your deceptions have only served as platforms for My mercy. You are still My servant, Satan. When will you learn? Your feeble attempts to disturb My work only enable My work.


Satan began to growl a throaty, guttural' angry growl. Softly at first, then louder, until the room was filled with a roar that must have quaked the foundations of hell.

 But the King was not bothered. "Feeling ill?"

 Lucifer lurked around the room, breathing loudly, searching for words to say and a shadow from which to say them. He finally found the words but never the shadow. "Show me, 0 King of Light, show me one person on the Earth who always does right and obeys Your will."

 'Dare you ask? You know there need be only one perfect one, only one sinless one to die for all the others. "

 "I know Your plans-and You have failed. No Messiah will come from Your people. There is none who is sinless. Not one." He turned his back to the, desk and began naming the children. "Not Moses. Not Abraham. Not Lot. Not Rebekah. Not Elijah...."

 The Father stood up from His throne' releasing a wave of holy Light so intense that Lucifer staggered backward and fell.


God's voice boomed. "You think you know much, fallen angel, but you know little. Your mind dwells in the valley of self. Your eyes see no further than your needs."

 The King walked over and reached for the book. He turned it toward Lucifer and commanded, "Come, Deceiver, read the name of the One who win can your bluff. Read the name of the he who will storm your gates. "

 Satan rose slowly off his haunches. Like a wary wolf, he walked a wide circle toward the desk until he stood before the volume and read the word:

 "Immanuel?" he muttered to himself, then spoke in a tone of disbelief. "God with us?" For the first time the hooded head turned squarely toward the face of the Father. "No. Not even You would do that. Not even You would go so far."

  "You've never believed me, Satan.''

 "But Immanuel? The plan is bizarre! You don't know what it is like on Earth!. You don't know how dark I've made it. It's putrid. It's evil. It's..."



  "But what of their sin?"

 "I will bring mercy'."

  "What of their death?"

 "I will give life."

 Satin stood speechless.

 God spoke, "I love My children. Love does not take away the beloved's freedom. But love takes away fear. And Immanuel will leave behind a tribe of fearless children. They will not fear you or your hell."

 Satan stepped back at the thought. His retort was childish. "Th-th-they will too"

 "I will take away all sin. I will take away death. Without sin and without death, you have no power."

 Around and around in a circle Satan paced, clenching and unclenching his wiry fingers. When he finally stopped, he asked a question that even I was thinking. "Why? Why would You do this?"

 The Father's voice was deep and soft. "Because I love them."

 The two stood facing each other. Neither spoke.

The extremes of the universe were before me. God robed in Light, each thread glowing. Satan canopied in evil, the very fabric of his robe seeming to crawl. Peace contrasting panic. Wisdom confronting foolishness. One able to rescue, the other anxious to condemn.  I have reflected much on what happened next. Though I have relived the moment countless times, I'm as stunned as I was at the first. Never in my wildest thoughts did I think my King would do what He did. Had He demanded Satan's departure, who would have questioned? Had He taken Satan's life. Who would have grieved? Had He called me to attack, I would have been willing. But God did none of these.

 From the circle of Light came His extended hand. From His throne came an honest invitation.

"Will you surrender? Will you return to Me?"

 I do not know the thoughts of Satan. But I believe that for a fleeting second the evil heart softened. The head cocked slightly, as if amazed that such an offer would be made. But then it yanked itself erect.

 "Where will we battle?" he challenged.

 The Father sighed at the dark angel's resistance.

"On a hill called Calvary."

 "If You make it that far." satan smirked, spinning and marching out the entryway. I watched as his spiny wings extended, and he soared into the heavenlies.

The Father stood motionless for a moment, then turned back to the book. Opening to the final chapter, He slowly read words I had never heard. No sentences. Just words. Saying each, then pausing: JESUS  NAIL  CROSS  BLOOD  TOMB  LIFE

He motioned toward me, and I responded, kneeling again before Him. Handing me the necklace, He explained, "This vial will contain the essence of Myself; a Seed to be placed in the womb of a young girl. Her name is Mary. She lives among My chosen people. The fruit of the Seed is the Son of God. Take it to her."

 "But how will I know her?" I asked.

 "Don't worry. You will."

 I could not comprehend God's plan; but my understanding was not essential. My obedience was. I lowered my head, And He draped the chain around my neck. Amazingly, the vial was no longer empty. It glowed with Light.

 "Jesus. Tell her to call My Son Jesus."


gThe whole thing narrows and narrows, until at last it comes down to a little point, small as the point of a spear – a Jewish girl at her prayersh

On Earth it was a silent night in the little town of Bethlehem but the heavens a great invasion was underway: a daring raid into enemy territory by the ruler of the forces of goodness and love into the universefs seat of evil. On earth a baby is born, a king gets wind of it, a chase ensues. In the heavens a woman clothes with the sun and wearing a crown of 12 stars cries out in pain as she is about to give birth. Suddenly the enormous red dragon (satan) enters the picture, his tail sweeping a third of the stars (angels) out of the sky and flinging them to the earth. He crouches hungrily before the woman, eager to devour her child the moment it is born. At the last second, the infant is snatched away to safety, the woman flees to the desert, and all out cosmic war begins. A war, with victory already assured in the heavens, but needing to be assured on Earth.

Was it a single thought, action from the time Adam and Eve turned from God in the garden of Eden to the Christ given onto us on Earth thousands of years passing since God said,h And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."

It is impossible for us to know the timing of this timeless plain, our knowledge is useless and foolishness in this plain but we do know that whatever God says is enacted at the perfect timing here in our plain and so we can think that the works were on there way as soon as the first prophesy of the bible was told. This is true through all the ages as the prophets were allowed a glimpse of a full life that was to come thousands of years after their deaths. They saw His birth, his life, and his death on the cross as the lamb that was born in a manger to die for you and me.

Through Jesus we are no longer bound by the law of nature because Jesus the one man born in this world free of sin willingly died for our sin. This is the old magic, the magic of the supernature. Jesus transcends the law, transcends death and brings us with him because like our Father in heaven he loves us.@Now this is a Selah Moment A transcendental moment but Christianity and faith is all about transcendental moments. Our wisdom comes from God, the Holy Spirit brings some of that supernature into our lives if we are willing to open ourselves, to ask, seek, and knock.

This is the extent that God loves you, I want you to understand that this Christmas and have a deeper appreciation for what Christmas is and to fill yourself with hope because though things may be tough for you here. With Christ your battle is won in the heavens even though you may still struggle on Earth.