It's Christmas again...
It's Christmas time again, which means, at least for an IHOP guy like me, the onething conference is right around the corner, the prayer room slims down to the people who actually live in Kansas City (since many students and interns leave for the holidays), and many of the prayer room sets and songs are sung around passages relating to the birth of Christ.
I seriously wish we could take an entire month out of each year and corporately meditate on the incarnation. Of all of the things that we should center our lives around, few, if anything at all actually, should outweigh the nativity scene we view perhaps hundreds of times each December. For the eternal infinite God to fully become a finite human being is arguably the most shocking, the most outrageous, and the most scandalous thing that has happened in the history of the created order. Dana Candler in her book Entirety writes:
Jesus, the Living Word, was God from eternity, begotten before time, dwelling in the unapproachable light with the Father, inhabiting the everlasting ages before the world was made in all glory and majesty (John 1:1-2). Perpetually worshipped by angels, He possessed all things from all eternity, and to any onlooker of the adoring heavenly hosts, there was no apparent reason for this to change.
Yet in the heart of God, from this love of the Holy Three, there was a plan of scandalous proportions rooted in outrageous love, and the crux of that plan involved the unthinkable departing of the Begotten Son from the shrouds of unapproachable light and the unimaginable emptying of Himself in the assumption of a human frame. It meant the unthinkable mystery that God the Creator would enter the world through the womb of a young maiden whom He Himself created, and ultimately, the shocking culmination of God hanging on a cross—the eternal statement of His endless hatred of sin and everlasting love of mankind.
The Baby that we find in the manger was the same One who was eternally the Possessor of All, the Author of Life, the uncreated One who was with God from everlasting (Micah 5:2). He did not consider His eternal exaltation as something to be grasped and used for His own gain, but rather He chose in transcendent love to empty Himself of so great an exaltation, making Himself of no reputation and taking on the form of a bondservant (Philippians 2:6-7).
Out of the erupting love and desire of the Godhead, the Son left the covering of unapproachable light and the vastness of His heavenly riches, wrapping Himself in the profound obscurity of poor humanity and becoming to the natural eye nothing more than a newborn Jewish boy, and later a typical young man, son of a carpenter, from Nazareth. In these obscure, ordinary beginnings, the extraordinary occurred: God took on the plight of humanity, the weakness and frailty of our dilemma and forever assumed His identity as our Brother, making us bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh forever.
And while we may receive temporary gifts that demonstrate love and affection from our family and friends, we must recognize that have been given the greatest gift ever in the person of Jesus Christ. And He did this for us when we were yet still sinners! John Saward in his book “Cradle of Redeeming Love” states:
“When he looks into the Crib, he sees something tiny and seemingly as easy for his mind to grasp as for his arms to embrace – a newborn baby. But then faith recalls that this newborn baby is the eternal God, that the Creator of the universe has become small in humanity while remaining great in Divinity, and the pious student falls astonished to his knees: ‘How great the mystery and wondrous the sacred sign!”
What an indescribable mystery!
I want to challenge you to fill your heart, your mind, your conversation, and your waking moments these next few days with this. There is truly no greater thing we can give ourselves to!
May this year's "God became a man forever" day be blessed with the richness of the Holy Spirit upon your heart as He reveals Jesus to you more and more.