When I think about Jesus at Christmas I am in awe and wonder that the Son of God voluntarily became a vulnerable baby, that he voluntarily gave up his majesty and power so that he could live amongst us and then die a horrible death to pay the penalty for mankind’s sin. Martin Luther said it so much better than I can:
The mystery of the humanity of Christ, that He sunk Himself into our flesh, is beyond all human understanding.
This is the wonder of Christmas – that Jesus loved us enough to make himself vulnerable. He did have to – it was a choice he made because without him doing so we would have no way of restoring out relationship with God. How amazing for Mary and Joseph to hold the Saviour of the world in their arms, to protect him from Herod’s wrath and to nurture him so that he could grow up to die of us. I wonder did they understand what lay ahead for this wee baby held in Joseph’s calloused carpenter’s hands.
I’m not a big risk taker and I certainly don’t like to make myself uncomfortable. Actually I’m such a wimp I had to pop a balloon! So to voluntarily give up the grandeur and majesty of heaven’s throne room to live as a carpenter’s son, to be rejected by religious leaders, to surrender to whippings and crucifixion is unthinkable and shocking to me. But that is what Jesus did. We get sidetracked at Christmas time with the traditional Nativity plays about the cute wee baby Jesus surrounded by barn animals and wee lambs, when in fact the reality and the full story is shocking. Perhaps that’s why John skips over the Nativity story just summing it up:
John 1:14 The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighbourhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish. (The Message)
Paul also writes a sort of Nativity to the Philippian Church:
Philippians 2:5-11 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father
So as we approach Christmas Day may we not be distracted by the apparent cuteness of the Nativity scene, but may be shocked and awed by the love of a Saviour who would give up so much and put himself through so much so that we could be rescued from the consequences of sin.
Happy Christmas – what an awesome Saviour!
(If you want to read some more posts on how awesome Jesus is please jump over to Rachel Olsen’s Devotion Carnival)