Smeagol is Free!
A hermitudinal view of...stuff...


Christmas Thoughts

Pimples. Puberty. Body odor. Hunger. Weariness. Sickness. Toothaches. Uncoordinated growth stages. Potty training...or whatever it was Mary and Joseph had to teach Him to do.

Those were some of the things that Jesus had to look forward to in His formative years as the Christ. As I pondered His birth today, I contrasted those things with two descriptions of His birth: the traditional Christmas story, as found in Luke 2, and the much less anthropocentric description found in John 1. What really stuck out was John 1:14..."And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." The word "dwelt" literally means, "tabernacled." Looking back into the Old Testament, we see how God "tabernacled" amongst His chosen people Israel. There, He was separate, and very distinct. His holiness and transcendence were being shown over and over and over gain. Here, however, the contrast is humbling: the utter separateness of God as He tabernacled amongst His people Israel is taken to a totally different level! Yes, He is holy, but oh, He is humble! The birth of Christ is a blessed condescension that has given me over to a great deal of head-shaking and silly grinning today.

In Philippians, Paul says that Christ, although He "existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men." Think of it. God...lying in a manger...weighed less than a standard bowling ball. What a foolish notion! If I were to save the world, I would surely not do so by sending a baby, much less make myself into a baby.

Then again, I'm not God, and therein lies the beauty of it all :) The fact that Christ's birth is utter lunacy to the world resounds all the more to His glory. There's no way any of this makes sense! Unless, of course, one gazes upon the mystery of redemptive history from the Lord's perspective. When I try to make sense of salvation from man's perspective, I get myself twisted into knots. I don't deserve this. Why would God want to save me? I've not done anything to earn this! Why would He send Christ to a a baby? *Sigh*...those are the type of thoughts that rule me when I try to figure out Christ's birth.

That is, until I read God's Word.

It's there from Genesis. God's plan is already in place from the horrific moment of Original Sin; from all eternity, before the Fall in the Garden, the Lord had already planned for the anguish His Son would undergo in another Garden, one called Gethsemane. In His instruction to Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, and then with His staying of Abraham's hand, the Lord is laying down a path that gently leads us to see His gracious glory. Christ's birth is no accident. Our salvation is not concidental. In Ephesians 1, Paul makes this abundantly clear.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation--having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory." (Italics mine.)

God intended us to be saved, and He works to form Christ in us for a purpose: that we might enjoy Him to the praise of His glory. His grace is lavished on us... His blessings are not held back...He considers us His own possession.

Is it not all the more beautiful, then, to consider that one of the major focal points of our redemption was...a manger?!?!? Indeed, it is. If we forget that we ought to wonder at all at the fact that Christ deigned to clothe Himself in a baby's body, we forget the dire seriousness with which Israel had to consider the Lord's tabernacling amongst them in the Old Testament. To have the Lord tabernacle amongst a Man Himself...only the Lord could do such a wonder.

posted by Bolo | 11:39 PM
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