Today, my day will be filled with fatherhood, celebrating with my two daughters, and cherishing life. My mind will drift back to my own childhood Christmas memories – memories of snow, Christmas carols, and being shuttled between different families. But, there’s something more profound going on which goes back centuries.
Christmas has been so romanticized, commercialized, and filled with warm sentimentality. I’m not saying it’s all bad. But, I don’t believe most of it does justice to what Christmas is about. Christmas is about making memories, but there’s a paradox below it all for me. Christmas is about remembering something we can never really remember. It’s about God doing something miraculously new, unheard of, and unimaginable. We’ve become so accustom to Christianity, its formulas, and stories. But, do we really understand? Can we really grasp God becoming God-with-us? This is Creator God, the God who told Moses that no one can see his face and live. (Exodus 33:20)
How do we fathom Elohim, the Lord of Hosts, crying, burping, and coming into the world through a womb…in a barn? What could this mean?
I think the only way to imagine it is to come to grips with something we cannot come to grips with. We celebrate Christmas to remember something we cannot know or fully understand. We celebrate Christmas to remember faith.
To me, Christianity is forever new. We can never comprehend or know God. The bible attests to how God, once and then again, moves beyond our assumptions for the sake of demanding more of us…and coming near to us. Often, these two aspects of God’s revelation to us come at the same time.
I’m influenced here by a familiar passage, Phillipians 2:7: Christ emptied himself. The notion in the Greek is kenosis, which means to empty. God emptied himself in becoming Jesus. This is the heart of the incarnation.
In the fallen God, is the rebirth of what it means to be human. In coming near to us, God becomes human. In becoming human, God shows us humanity.
There he is, born of a woman and lying in a barn.
Something wonderful has happened. It is more unimaginable that humans being human – loving, acting, living, free. No, it’s God in God’s ultimate freedom. God become human. God, now God-with-us.
What gift will we bring?