Like stories that begin: ‘Once upon a time?’
Do you like “once-upon-a-time” stories? Stories that begin with the words, “Once upon a time” are usually fun stories, but they are stories with deep meaning. They seem to be stories that teach lessons that last a lifetime. So let me tell you a “once-upon-a-time” story. This is not a true story. But it is a beautiful illustration and I think you will easily see the analogy.
Once upon a time … there was a young prince who was single and eager to find a lovely young maiden and make her his princess.
Near the prince’s palace was a large city through which the prince often rode in his royal carriage as he took care of various responsibilities for his father, the King.
One day, as he was going through the poor section of the city, the handsome prince happened to glance into the eyes of a very beautiful young maiden. Never before had he seen a girl so beautiful. Within the next few days, the prince had another opportunity to go through that section of the city. And again, he noticed this very poor, but also very lovely young girl. Then he began to make opportunities. Again and again, the young prince rode by and eyed the girl. He had become completely infatuated with this beautiful girl. And now, his only desire was to make this young maiden his wife.
But there the prince had a problem. How should he proceed to marry the girl? Of course, as the son of the king, he had the authority to simply order the girl to be his wife. But that wouldn’t do. Even a prince wants his princess to be his princess because she loves her prince.
And so, the prince thought, “I’ll put on my royal garb and my crown jewels.” He decided that he would go to her and try to impress her with his royalty. “But,” thought the prince, “that plan, also, could backfire.” The young maiden might be intimated by all the glitz and the glitter? Certainly, the prince had a dilemma.
Finally, the answer came to him. It was not a very attractive solution. But, by now the prince so loved this young girl, he decided that it was worth whatever it took to have her for his bride.
The prince determined that he would give up his royal robes and put on the clothes of a commoner. He would shun his wealth and take on her poverty. The prince decided that he would give up his glorious palace. He would walk away from his privileged position and move into the young girl’s neighborhood. He would take up a trade. He could become a carpenter. He would learn the trade and work hard at it. During the work day, he could get acquainted with the people. He would begin to share their interests and their concerns. He would talk their language. The prince would, for all practical purposes, become one of them.
In this way, the prince would meet the young girl on her level.
In this way, the prince would demonstrate his genuine love for her.
That’s just a story. But the truth in that story illustrates the truth of Christmas. The only reason we are able to celebrate Christmas is that God loved you and me so much that He left His throne in glory. The Prince of Peace gave up His riches and took off His royal robe. The Son of God, Jesus Christ, left heaven, came down to earth, lived among us, became one of us, died in our place and was resurrected so that we could live.
The truth of Christmas is that “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”