Many museums and art galleries host unveilings to reveal new sculptures or paintings. A program is planned, the artist secured, refreshments prepared and invitations mailed. Meanwhile, the piece of exquisite art is covered with a sheet to prevent anyone from seeing it until the moment when it will be revealed with great fanfare.
When the day arrives, the Master of Ceremonies welcomes everyone and makes introductory remarks. The artist is introduced and applauded. And then, for the climax, the artist or emcee grasps a corner of the sheet and yanks it off revealing to all the brand new creative work!
Something very similar happened in Bethlehem roughly 2000 years ago. The Eternal God made all the arrangements for an event He had scheduled since Eden. He revealed the location through a prophet named Micah and the timing through Daniel. Through others, He issued press releases, teasing us along as to what His most magnificent work would be.
Although He made the reservations centuries before, He used a pagan Emperor to get the participants to the proper place and at proper time. Instead of many wealthy donors, He notified the only two people who needed to be present, and then arranged the circumstances for the unveiling of His greatest work. This little Child, meanwhile, was veiled inside the flesh of His mother awaiting the precise moment He would be revealed to the world.
And then it happened! On that dark night in a Bethlehem cave, surrounded not by prestigious guests of royalty and status, but by lowly barnyard animals, God grasped the corner of the sheet and yanked it off revealing to the world His Only Begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Mary and Joseph were the first to behold and marvel at the work of God’s art and heart lying in this manger. They comforted, wondered, snuggled and adored. They cuddled and they worshiped.
Then the Master of Ceremonies (and of the universe) delivered His invitations by brilliant angels to sleepy shepherds on a nearby hillside. “Come see this new work God has just unveiled!” Or in the literal wording of the invitation, “There is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” No street address, RSVP, or attire specified.
With fear, trembling, and much excitement, they made their way to that Bethlehem cave and were the first outsiders invited into the stable-turned-museum to see God’s extraordinary Master’s piece. They came, saw, adored, worshiped, returned, and proclaimed! They carried the Master’s invitations to others to see the newly revealed Work of Heart in yonder cave.
About a week later, Simeon and Anna beheld God’s living, moving, breathing sculpture. As they did, they prophesied over this Amazing Child and worshiped the One they held. For unlike most museum pieces that are roped off and untouchable, this One was to be handled and held, hugged and embraced, fed and changed.
Over the next 33 years, others beheld Him as well. Some on hillsides, others in the Temple, and still others on Galilee’s sea. He touched others, others touched Him. This living Sculpture of God, though made of flesh and bone instead of rock and stone, exhibited love and compassion like no other work in history’s museum.
Unfortunately, not all appreciated God’s handiwork and ultimately destroyed the sculpture. They rejected the Masterpiece and insulted the Artist. Only to be overwhelmed by His reassembly and resurrection three days later!
What will you do with God’s Masterpiece? As we celebrate His unveiling in Bethlehem when God pulled the sheet from His Son and introduced Him to the world, how will you respond? Will you criticize and reject Him? Or will you, like millions of others, marvel at His beauty, fall at His feet and worship? Let’s celebrate the unveiling of God’s truly unique Master’s piece this Christmas!