Christmas Isn’t God Slumming with Humanity

swaddledJesusThe heavens do not turn three shades of red when God is born a babe. They sing. Glory to God in the highest, whose birth room smells of manure and hay. There lies the swaddled creator, all wrapped up in the things of creation—infant holy yet infant lowly, a diapered divinity.

But you’re wrong if you suppose this is beneath God, as if He’s slumming with humanity. The incarnation is not so much God-made-small as it is man-made-big. The God who made man in His own image outdoes Himself: He makes Himself into His own image and thereby exalts us. Jesus becomes what you are—a woman’s child—that He might make you what He is—a son of the Father. That’s what this is all about. One small step for God, one giant leap for mankind. He becomes no less, but we become infinitely more in Him. Within the womb of Mary, something new happens under the sun. A woman is pregnant with God, by God, for us. Conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, Jesus issues forth as the first man of a new race. This race calls God Father, and means it. For in the fullness of time, He sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

That is what you need: redemption, adoption. You don’t need a god who strokes your ego with applause from on high when you “do good.” You don’t need a deadbeat deity who’s so busy caring for his universe that he shows no concern when his children go astray. You need the God for whom nothing matters more than to save you, to adopt you as His own flesh and blood. You need the God who cares enough to tell you the truth, to say, “Apart from me, you are depraved, dead, and damned. But I love you. I want you. I desire you to be my child more than anything else. So I have done all and everything necessary for you to be mine.”

This is the God—the God-made-man—you need. He is the Lord you have. He gives purity to the depraved, life to the dead, salvation to you under hell’s thumb. He did not come to save the trees or the spotted owl. He was not born to rid the world of hunger or stop the ravages of war. He came to be for every man what no man has been or could be for himself. Born under the law, Jesus fulfilled the law He Himself had given. He was the perfect infant, perfect teenager, perfect adult. He bore your flesh and blood along through every stage of life, bearing it to the cross, bearing it out of the grave. And all of it is credited to you. You—perfect infant; you—perfect teenager; you—perfect adult, all in Jesus. For God so loved the world, He strapped the world to the back of His Son, so that where He went and what He did, you went and you did also.

So shout greatly, O daughters of Zion, for a virgin daughter of Israel has entered motherhood. Humble and mounted on a manger, Jesus rides into our world, and heaven follows after Him. Hosanna to the Son of David, born in David’s town. Blessed is He who comes from the bosom of His Father to the bosom of His mother. He comes for all.

Are you bruised and battered by the cares of this world? He comes for you, this great physician of soul and body.
Are you betrayed and abused, divorced and lonely? His advent is for you, this faithful bridegroom of the Church.
Are you rich and happy, well-fed and comfortable? Yes, He comes for you, too, to show you that true riches and true happiness are found only in Him.

The nails and a spear shall pierce Him; the cross he will bear. That is why He came down from heaven, to let the earth have its way with Him that He might have His way with you. And His way is life. So be not afraid, for I bring you good tidings of great joy. For unto you is born a Savior, God in the flesh, who fills you with life divine.

This reflection is included in my collection of meditations entitled Christ Alone. If you’d like to read more, please check out the two books that I now have on sale. From now to the end of 2014, Christ Alone: Meditations and Sermons and The Infant Priest: Hymns and Poems, are on sale for an additional 25% off through CreateSpace. Click here if you’d like to purchase Christ Alone or here for The Infant Priest. When you check out, enter this code, YLECQSWE, for the discount. Thank you!

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4 thoughts on “Christmas Isn’t God Slumming with Humanity

  1. thesios on said:

    Thank you, Chad. I don’t have your book that this is in (I do have your other book, though), so this is the first time I’m reading this. Along the way, I’ve found a line or three to quote in my Christmas Eve and Christmas Day sermons as they have fit quite nicely into what I had already written, so thank you very much. And, or course, I have given you the credit, they are included as quotations.

  2. I just wish I could hear ANYTHING close to this in my LCMS church.
    Thank you.

  3. Pingback: Merry Christmas! - Immanuel Lutheran (LCMS), Macomb

  4. My I offer you my humble thanks, too! Your words have given me most of my Christmas Eve homily (I will cite you as the source, of course!) God has, again, blessed you with the gift of preaching. My He bless you and your with a very happy Christmas.

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