Christmas is not about a baby in a manger. I feel like I'm seeing things differently lately. For so many years I saw Christmas in terms of the Nativity scene, shepherds, wisemen, Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus lying in a manger. And really I'm ashamed to say but I really didn't care too much about the whole Christmas thing. It was fine, but I just didn't see anything as I looked at the Nativity scene.
Easter I got. Easter made me excited. I could see the magnitude of Easter. I could read text after text, book after book about the theology of Easter. I like theology and Easter has plenty of it.
But Christmas just didn't grip me- a baby born to common folks- it happens all the time. It happened to me with Adele.
Where am I going with all of this?
I have been preaching my Christmas series this year from the angle of the "story behind the story". And it is gripping me big time- not my sermons per se, but my study time in scripture.
See if we just look at baby Jesus in a manger as the beginning of his story then we miss the significance. We can be led to think of His story as a poor peasant boy who grows up poor and then comes to greatness as an adult, almost a Braveheart scenario.
Jesus story does not start on a Christmas morning. And the weight of Christmas is not a baby being born.
I would contend to you that the weight of Christmas is that a King stepped off His throne (Isaiah 6), gave up His rights and priviledges, embraced humanity in its fullness (Philippians 2:5-8) for a realationship with people who did not deserve it and could not earn it. And yes to do that He had to come as a baby. But when I think of Jesus in all His greatness, glory, majesty, and splendor, and then see Him letting it go so that I (and you) could have a relationship with our Creator is a sobbering picture.
I said on Sunday- Jesus leaving the glory of heaven to come and embrace the fullness of humanity- being born as one of us, live with us, and die for us, was the single greatest act of humility this world has ever, and will ever see. What kind of God does that? What kind of King serves the lowly? What kind of love motivates that kind of action?
So am I splitting hairs about a baby being born? Maybe. But I want to be crystal clear about what happened on Christmas morning. I am not worshipping a baby, I'm worshipping a King who came in humility and who will one day come again, but this time in His full glory and power!
Babies are born all the time, Savior's come once! May you see the full weight of that baby lying in a manger.