When all was still and it was midnight, your almighty Word, O Lord, descended from the royal throne. (Wisdom 18:14-15) (Antiphon for the Christmas Midnight Introit.)

The Greeting for the celebration of the Ascension is “God has gone up with a shout; the Lord with the sound of the trumpet.”

Between the silence of the coming and celebration of the going were the “works” that are a part of the “person and work” of Jesus.  We talk about the person and work of Christ all the time but what that means is never quite explained.  The person of Christ is that child laid in a manger who is God wrapped in flesh and in whom all the fullness of the Godhead chose to dwell.  His works were the complete fulfilling of the Law and sacrificing Himself to take away sins.  His work was bearing our sins away like a beast of burden, or the lamb of sacrifice, or the scape goat from Leviticus.  All of it was because of “His great love for the Father and for me and other sinners” (Christian Questions and Their Answers LSB page 329).

“What has He done, this one who came at midnight to bring us light, this high and lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy? Between Him and sinners  there is a great gulf fixed; and it would remain forever fixed but for the one incredible fact that God is God and not man, that His love is like no other love we know. God did not take PoIonius’ advice: “Those friends thou hast, and their affection tried, fasten them to thy soul with hoops of steel.” God had no friends; He had only enemies to work with, and He knew their “affections” all too well-they were weak, ungodly, sinners, enemies. And yet, God as He spoke in Christ the Yes to all His promises; He fastened enemies to His soul with hoops of steel-hoops of steel forged on an earth whose very air was agony to His Son (“How long am I to be with you?”), forged in a fire which only One could endure, aIbeit with a cry; forged with the hammer of wrath, beaten out on the anvil of suffering love, annealed by blood and water from Christ’s riven side, finished with the power of love mightier than death, burnished with the shining splendor of the resurrection, made everlastingly bright and beautiful with the flashing finality of the ascension. Here are hoops of steel that no heat of hell and no fires of affliction can melt. Here is God’s ultimate Yes to all His promises.  Love.”

(From Martin Franzmann Chapel Address 1969 slightly revised.)