When Christmas rolls around I often consider all the things we sing and say about the baby Jesus during this time of year. As cliche as it is to write about all of the things that are wrong in a lot of what we say and think about Christmas here it comes.
The incredible thing in God becoming man and moving into the neighborhood, is that he subjected himself to the whole process. He was born just like you and me, he had to go through puberty just like you and me, he worked, sweat, cried (contrary to the popular Christmas hymn, baby Jesus actually cried), he grew tired, he became hungry. Even historical accounts outside of the bible it is recognized that Jesus was in fact a man. And while different sources might say different things about Jesus I believe that he in fact was/is God incarnate.
Consider this story for a moment:
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus. (Matthew 1.18-25 ESV)
You have this girl who at least in the biblical account had never known a man intimately has been told you are pregnant and you are going to have a child that will save the world. Then you have this fellow who was going to be married to this girl and finds out she is pregnant (by the way they haven’t had relations yet). This guy was a stand up fellow because he didn’t want to shame her, so he was going to quietly divorce her, and then comes the angel.
It’s funny to me that most interactions with divine beings there is almost always this opening line: “don’t be afraid.” Not having seen an angel personally I can only surmise 1 of 2 things, either these guys look pretty terrifying or when they show up you know somethings about to go down. Yet in the New Testament the angel seems to be more about the deliver of a message of peace, or a word of comfort.
I think that this is what is ushered in by the coming Christ, peace on earth good will toward man. The beauty of Jesus coming into the world is that the opportunity for the restoration of all things is at hand. We can come to a place where we don’t have to live broken any more, we don’t have to be afraid because the truth of the Gospel is that everything is going to be okay!
We may not know all the answers, and we may not have it easy but what is true in the midst of all the turmoil and heartache and indifference is that it is all going to be okay in the end. If we come to the point that we believe Jesus came to restore what was broken, and redeem us out of the turmoil of the world, and trust that he is going to make this all okay, then we will be a part of this incredible kingdom.
This is the Gospel, this is the purpose of an angel coming to speak to a girl and a boy about their new family, this is the story of God redeeming all things back to himself through a baby born in the lowliest of conditions that everyone everywhere would know what it means to be caught up in the divine embrace as a child of the creator of the universe.
God is making all things new again, he is redeeming his broken creation and he is calling us back to himself. So this Christmas, lets think about this baby in a different way, lets embrace the purpose for God coming down to earth moving in and living daily life with each one of us.