The God of the universe humbled himself...
When I think about Christmas I often think of Mary. She's the mother of the story, and as a new mom she is the figure of the story I can most easily relate to. I imagine her struggles of being pregnant before she was married, the judgment she must have faced even when she had done nothing wrong. The shame she must have felt when the eyes of criticism bored into her flesh. The fear she must have felt when she told Joseph about her calling. The exhaustion she must have experienced traveling to Bethlehem with a heavy child resting in her belly. The pains of being in labor, the overwhelming emotions of delivering a child from her womb and having no bed to lay the baby on; only a feeding trough with some hay.
I think about the joy she must have felt knowing she was doing God's will, knowing she was a part of God's plan for the world and the helpless baby she held was set apart, was special, was unique: uniquely pure- uniquely holy- uniquely righteous. Because that baby was righteousness; was love; was the Glory of God.
That helpless baby...
The all powerful God who created the heavens and the earth was born a helpless baby.
The God who spoke the world into being was a baby who could not speak.
The creator of beauty, could not see clearly
The creator of taste and texture could drink only his mother's bland, sweet milk, and was overwhelmed easily when new sensations were felt on his frail flesh.
The one who created sounds could not understand or interpret what they meant. He could not recognize the smells that he made to trigger such strong emotions in his creation.
In all of his senses, he was humbled.
The God who delivered his people by separating the waters, who sent a flood to abolish evil men, who cared for the widow and the orphan, who appointed kings and emperors, and defeated the dragon, became a child. Our Rescuer humbled himself. He curled in a ball and melted in his mothers arms, unable to lift his own head, to protect himself or feed himself. He became less.
He became less so we could become more.
This is God who creates man; who loves man. He became less so we could become more. We could become more than we deserve- as vile sinners who doubted his promises in the garden, who questioned his one decree, who sought their own glory instead of his. We deserved nothing and he gave us everything. And to give us everything, he had to lose it all. So this God who reins over all things, even time itself, became a man, became a child, became a baby. Why? What did he gain? Us, he did it to get us, to rescue us from ourselves and the sin that so easily entangles us. He rescued out hearts forever.
Because this baby would grow to be a man. A man who would resist temptation. Who would undergo a trial. Who would carry a cross, cry tears of anguish, sweat drops of blood, be separated from the God of love, a part of his own Self, and die. Even though he could stop it with a word. He died. He died so he could rise. So he could defeat death. So we could share in his death, and so we could share in his Glory.
The God of love, humbled himself, so we could share in his Glory.
As Mary held her helpless baby, and wept over him with Joy. Only God fully understood that this was a joy intended for all men. All men who would accept his gift. This Gift is the greatest one we can receive. It is the reason we celebrate the season of advent. The reason we celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ. It is the reason we sing songs of joy and praise and the reason we can shout Hallelujah, Amen!
Written Oct 6, 2012