Joshua 5: 13-14: “Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, ‘Are you for us or for our enemies?’ – ‘Neither one,’ he replied. ‘I am the commander of the Lord’s army.’”

When Joshua addressed the Angel of the Lord he assumed God is taking sides. He was mistaken. The angel made it very clear when asked on whose side he is on: Israel’s or Israel’s enemies: The answer was: neither!

Let’s remember that before taking sides: God is on both sides.  God is for you, and “you” means everybody. There is no exclusion in the kingdom of God. There is no hierarchy as we know it, no club of insiders versus excluded outsiders. The kingdom of God values every creature in this universe, including this hot spot called Planet Earth. God loves His angels, His vegetation, His animal kingdom, His people without a shred of favoritism.  However, His capacity to love is grander than the universe because while He loves everything and everybody, He also uniquely loves singular you. We can relate to this fact if we look at our own relationships. You have a different connection to every person you know. That is the way God’s love operates.

The triune God can’t be divided. Neither can His children be divided.  The body of Christ is one.  Frictions in God’s kingdom are man-made and will definitely end in Heaven. Can you imagine Heaven divided? The beauty of Heaven is harmony with diversity. The lion and the lamb sit side by side. The nations of the world are talking to each other, hearing each other out, respecting each other. Everybody is fully loved, fully accepted, on the peak of potential, producing and contributing to the new world called Kingdom of Heaven.  That is the future of mankind.

Isaiah 11:6: “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calfand the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.”

Luke 2:8-11: “That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. ‘Don’t be afraid!’ he said. ‘I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!’”

Shepherds were among the first to give eye witness accounts of the exciting news surrounding the birth of the Messiah. They were the first to arrive on scene and the first to receive the Good News, hand delivered by angels. Mary and Joseph were both related to King David, who was a shepherd by trade.  The couple was staying in Bethlehem, King David’s home town, and they may have been lodging close to the fields where David used to roam as a boy when watching over his family’s flock. Jesus’ birth place happened to be right on His ancestor’s stomping ground.

Previously, Mary had gone into labor. In the wee hours of the morning her baby was born. This incident caused no minor excitement in the heavenly realms.  Jesus, beloved member of the Trinity, arrived on planet Earth as a human being. He was not born a rich man. Though King of the universe, He did not seek the status of the privileged. Without protective palace walls He was a very approachable human being; and so His doors were always wide open to welcome people from every walk of life. Anybody who wanted to see Jesus was encouraged to come. His unconditional love attracted the crowds, and He gave hope especially to the dejected.

In the corporate world an equivalent to Jesus’ approach is known as “Open Door Policy”. Company executives use this policy as a way of getting in touch with their employees. Another way is depicted in the TV series “Undercover Boss”, where executives take on the role of a regular employee outside middle- or upper management in order to get a raw look at the inner workings of their respective companies.  Similarly Jesus, who is the ultimate Boss of creation, went undercover in His own created universe to experience the full spectrum of our humanness.

Attempting to fit the human experience of the Son of God into a small paragraph, following is a brief synopsis:

Jesus was a healthy little boy growing up in the inconspicuous rural town of Nazareth. With other students He learned how to read and write, studied the Torah, developed friendships, and learned His father’s trade; He felt the love of His doted parents as well as the love of the Heavenly Father whom He sought out whenever He could; He would frequently set aside alone-time to pray. Jesus started His ministry at age 30; He was admired by many but would also suffer rejection, pain, and loneliness. He loved everybody unconditionally, even those who hated Him. Facing His enemies, He ultimately died a criminal’s death. His earthly mission was accomplished when He was resurrected from the grave three days later; He then returned to the Father in Heaven. Having walked in our shoes, Jesus has become our premier advocate.

The angels had known Jesus long before He came to Earth; they had seen His glory in Heaven. On that fateful night they must have been amazed to see the Maker of the universe transformed into a helpless babe. Knowing God’s plan and the impact Jesus was going to make – no wonder the angels broke out into praise!

“Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others – the armies of heaven – praising God saying: ‘Glory to God in highest heaven and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased!’” (Luke 2:13-14)