It is the most wonderfully misunderstood time of the year. I, for one, love Christmas.
I fully understand that Jesus wasn’t actually born on December 25th, that Christmas trees actually have nothing to do with a Christian Christmas, and neither do cookies and exchanging presents. Nevertheless, I celebrate Jesus’ birthday, light a tree, eat cookies, and will hopefully remember to wrap presents this year. I enjoy our culture of Christmas, at least the non-commercialized aspects, and though I do sometimes get frustrated with all of the Santa/get me this/I want the newest ‘that’… a modest expression of Christmas centered around the advent of our Savior is a delightful cultural tradition.
Something I would like to see in the midst of our celebrations, at least among the Christian of us, is a more sober embracing of the revelation that Christ is Immanuel. My heart burns with desire that the Church would fully grasp the implications of a holy God taking on the flesh of man. This beloved, is the mystery of God. We cannot take for granted that the immortal, invisible, in all, through all, and greater than all, creator of all life, clothed Himself in the constraints of a human frame. It is such a beautiful and terrible mystery, that the one and only pure and spotless life would submit to imperfection, pain, loneliness, and the sin of all mankind. He humbled Himself and took on mortality, to grow up as a human on a cursed earth. This is our God. He is Christ the Lord.
Jesus Christ enslaved Himself to mankind for the life span of a man, and before He was risen by grace into immortal glory, He lived a human life to the very fullest that a human life can be lived. That which Jesus gave us was not simply salvation; He gave us a new and living way, demonstrating the true purpose of the human life experience. Jesus was, is, and will be for all of eternity, fully man. The idea that Jesus is fully God and fully man, is not stating that He is some sort of demigod. Jesus is the fullness of all that mankind can possibly attain, while remaining the fullness of all that God was, is, and will always be.
Jesus came as the servant of all. His life on this earth was the demonstration of God’s glory, dominion, and power through a vessel of servant meekness. He came as a son, a brother, and a witness of His Father’s Kingdom. It is through this same vessel of meekness that Christ will execute His rule and judgments throughout the nations, just as He became salvation for all mankind.
We abide in a decaying world that is full of injustice and greed. This is the predominant hidden, and in many cases not-so-hidden agenda of every powerful government in the earth. Jesus’ message was not simply that He would save our souls from corruption, but that He would save all peoples and nations from the injustice of those who rule this earth. Those among the weak and poor who would swear allegiance to Christ, and those among the rich and powerful who would “bow down and kiss the Son”, have entrance into the Kingdom of God. Christmas is about the birth of this One who would rule the nations, for He is the heir of all mankind. His life and then His death on the cross was the demonstration that He is, in fact, the spotless lamb and the one worthy to rule all nations. Beloved, the coming ruler of the earth came first as a servant. He died for the least of us to the greatest, and when He returns we will have no excuse. He made a way for all who would receive Him. Can you receive a servant God?
I’m not sure which knowledge baffles me more, the fact that God would take upon Himself human flesh, or that God would take upon Himself a human death, but this my friends is not one of many. He is the only one capable, and He followed through on our behalf when we were hopelessly lost in our transgressions. I will celebrate Christmas, and I will celebrate the slave who became my brother.
Merry Christmas, and may the grace of God rest upon you all.