“She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.”
Luke 2:7 NLT
This Christmas, I want to invite you to come with me and gaze into a mystery too great for words to ever really communicate:
God became flesh.
The Son of God became the Son of Man. The One who has no physical form and to whom time does not apply developed tiny toes and fingers and had a birthday. The God to whom darkness is light because He does not have finite eyes that cannot see in the dark became the dawning Light with infant eyes that could not even make out His mother’s face. The Creator who breathed life into Adam, breathed His first gasp of earthly, pungent, stable-smell-filled air.
If this does not grip you, I dare you to pause for a moment and try to explain this to yourself. Explain how God the Almighty became fragile flesh. Can you? Can you wrap your head around the fact that God the Father was not the baby boy, but God the Son was, and yet the two are one? How the Spirit overshadowed Mary and that is how she conceived Jesus. Does anyone even know what that means? What it might have felt like? And then think how the Son was still completely and totally God. And yet who could say that God had a body or could skin His knee? No. Jesus was fully man too. Both. At the same time.
Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see.
And remember, you have to stoop to see Him. You have to squint to see Him. You might want to breathe through your mouth when you go to see Him, because you can only find Him in some small town, in some rough stable, on some dark night, with only some animals, some sweaty, weather-beaten shepherds, and two peasant parents to witness the event of the… well of all history! God becoming man is mystery enough. Who can fathom the fact that He chose to come in such a way that we don’t even know the exact day or spot where He came because it wasn’t a comfortable home and there was no fanfare or even a family celebration to mark the occasion?
When God comes, He enters by the back door and sits at the dinner table He carved with His own carpenter’s hands and breaks bread that recalls His own broken flesh and hands it to you. When God comes, He comes in the most intimate way to your inmost being and says, “Here I am. I see you. I know you. I understand you. I love you. And because of this I can save you. Do you trust me?”
Do you trust the One who you and all your fellow residents of planet earth were shaped by and yet rejected and utterly dishonored and yet He became a fellow resident of planet earth to save you instead of wiping you from existence as He could have and had every right to do? Do you trust the One who came quietly into the mess and sat with you? The One who endured growth pains and hunger pains and economic oppression and religious division and political intimidation and all the misery of an ordinary life before He even started His ministry so that He could know you? He refused power and acclaim to bring you the truth and redemption. When His star was on the rise, He stepped around the stumbling block of pride and became disgraced and despised so He could die, all to pay the price for your sins and rescue you from your estrangement from Him.
Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see. Come and gape with me at the manger in a cave and the cross on Calvary. Fall on your knees. Stare at the empty tomb and look to the clouds and remember! When you feel unseen, God saw the inside of an earthly life and sees the details of yours because He dreamt you up in eternity past and refused to let you go when you tried to run from Him. When you feel lost and alone, remember that God was born in a stable that wasn’t even owned by His parents and died utterly abandoned so that He could be your Way and your Home forever. And when you are afraid or hurting or grieving, know that you can hide yourself under His wings and find refuge in the One who gets it.
With all of this in mind, what is one thing that is hidden in your heart that you need to bring before God and let His Light shine upon this Christmas to heal, to forgive, to redeem, to just know that He hears and He sees?
How and when can you take a moment to find a hidden place and contemplate the mystery of Christmas, let awe rise up in your heart, and simply worship our Savior?
What hidden, broken, painful place can you step into to encourage, comfort, and share the presence of Christ with someone else this Christmas?