Ho! Ho! Ho! And fa la la la…It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Strings of lights and trees are up. Inflatable penguins, snowmen, reindeer and Santas dot the neighborhoods. Grumps are smiling (Well, a few of them! Scrooge is still Scrooge.), atheists are in a rage and parents are in a tizzy with last minute preparations. Amid all of the fuss are those occasional thoughts of a baby in a manger. Although the holiday is all a human concoction, it is a good occasion to reflect on the incarnation of the Son of God.
He was there long before the world. He was God (John 1:1). It is beyond our comprehension to think of being in such a lofty position and choosing to become totally dependent. He was born into a normal human family who was responsible for taking care of the Lord of the universe as an infant. He required feeding, bathing and diaper changing; quite a humbling experience for the one who had always existed in equality with God and created His caretakers.
Most of His early life was spent in obscurity. His “dad” was a carpenter, and we are provided very little information about him. Mom didn’t exactly grab the headlines, either. She was…well…a virgin when she gave birth. That is pretty noteworthy. Her baby was obviously a cut above the norm, so special that His arrival warranted an angelic announcement accompanied by shining glory and a heavenly chorus. The Savior had arrived, and that is amazingly good news, right? Well, not exactly.
He came to His own people and was greeted with rejection (John 1:11). We marvel that so many today turn their backs on the salvation that the Lord offers. We shouldn’t be surprised. His own kin didn’t welcome Him. In fact, they were among the most hostile at the notion of who He was. He behaved contrary to their interpretation of the Law. He healed on the Sabbath. He confronted the leadership with their hypocrisy. Light is seldom welcomed by the darkness. He was no exception.
It didn’t take very long for the civil authorities to join in the opposition. The king could hardly stand the challenge of another “king.” He was hardly willing to share the throne, so he did what authoritarians do. He mandated a wholesale slaughter of every toddler two years old and younger (Matthew 2). It was a grim beginning on His march to the cross. He was born to give His life, but it would happen on His terms and in His time. The world was universally hostile to the Prince of Peace. From the throne of heaven to the “most wanted” category hardly seems like the path to success. That, of course, depends on our definition of “success.” If accomplishing God’s plan to save sinners is in mind, it was perfect. Mission accomplished. Thank you, Lord. Merry Christmas.