He Comes Down from Heaven

This month we will be sharing a collection of short readings by Northeastern Seminary alumni as they reflect on and rejoice in the gifts of God's grace and the signs of Christ present during this Advent Season. Today's guest post was written by Thomas Worth.

Merry Christmas

“No one has gone up to heaven
except the One who came down from heaven,
the Son of Man who is in heaven…”
John’s Gospel 3:13.  Jerusalem Bible

The early news wends its way…
The first preaching of the preachers say,
“The kingdom of heaven is near!”
“Heaven’s kingdom is here!”

What is it like?
What is it like—for the One who is in heaven—
(We could almost say the One who makes heaven—heaven!)
What is it like for Him to come down from heaven?
And what is more like heaven when He comes down to us?
Is heaven there or here?
Where is heaven?
With the archangels and seraphim?
Or in the womb of Mary—
And then with His birth:
The stable where ox and ass and cattle feed?
Are the angels leaving heaven to sing their song over the hills of Bethlehem?
Or do they feel as they draw near the place of the Nativity
That they are coming to heaven—
To that Holiest Place where He who was with God in the beginning
And is God—
Is become flesh and is dwelling among us?

Think of it!
He who is at the heart of the throne in heaven,
Angels and archangels, cherubim and seraphim, powers and dominions
Worshiping and adoring Him,
Hearing melodies and words that we can only dimly guess,
Songs so beautiful that our hearts would break for wonder if we heard them,
A cataract of praise where He is able to discern
Every strand of song from every single singer—
Now plunges Himself into utter silence
Until His nascent bit of embryonic humanity forms ears to hear
The flow of blood, the swish of fluid, the beating of His mother’s heart.

Think of it!
He who can see everything
And dwells in the Light from which heaven and earth flee away,
The Light to which no one can approach—
Steps down into the darkness of our beginnings and our wanderings.
He becomes blind until he opens his eyes as a newborn
Unable to focus on a new world,
Lit by a torch or an oil lamp
Or perhaps only the light of the sinking moon
That reveals the shapes and shadows of manger and stall,
The misty breath of the cattle in the stable,
The nearness of His mother’s breast
And the blurred outlines of her eyes and lips.

Think of it!
He who inhabits eternity
And for whom the nations are a drop in the bucket,
Who fills infinity enough to be everywhere,
Now confines Himself to the growing seed within Mary.
He who is present in all places at all times,
Now becomes local and limited,
Centering Himself down into a human baby,
Once upon a time…

Think of it!
The Word who speaks with the Father and the Holy Spirit
In the primeval counsels of eternity;
Who speaks creation into existence;
Who, in conversing with the thrones and dominions,
The angelic intelligences of the cosmos,
Imparts to them what little of His knowledge they can bear;
Who speaks and knows all that God knows—
Now relinquishes all knowledge of Himself or anything else,
Knows only the trauma of being born into a strange, cold world,
No longer knows who He is,
Knows only what every human being coming into the world knows,
And like us all, with His inarticulate cries
Expresses His distress, hunger, thirst and need
Because, like us all, it is all He can say
And like us all, it is the only way He can begin to breathe
 The cold night air into which He is born.

Think of it!
He who as the Only-begotten God
Wields all power and rules with all authority,
Commanding principalities and galaxies,
Governing quarks and quasars, sparrows and rainbows,
Lets go of it all and comes down from heaven,
Losing everything, becomes weak and wanting,
A baby in His mother’s arms. 

And yet, even though He lets heaven go
And comes down,
It seems that heaven would not be bereft of Him
And so follows Him to earth
And is here—
With a cloud of witnesses at His birth!


Thomas Worth, M.Div. ‘03, D.Min., ’07, is pastor of Community Covenant Church in Manlius, N.Y. and also serves as program site coordinator for NES in Syracuse. He has been a poet of the Incarnation and married to his wife, Marsha, for almost 40 years. He has been a part-time missionary to Bulgaria for over 20 years. Marsha and he have two married daughters and four grandchildren.

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