It’s interesting to think that if there is a personal God who is jealous for our worship, and if Jesus is anything less than God, we Christians are in a world of hurt for worshiping Him as God. And yet, if His claims are true–if Jesus really is Emmanuel, God with us, then we are equally as bad off if we reject Him in favor of worshiping only the Father, as the Jews of Jesus’ day were inclined to do.
He came to His own and His own did not receive Him.
To worship a mere man is preposterous. Indeed it is treasonous. And to bow down before a tiny baby as the magi did is laughable.
Unless somehow God becomes a man. Unless somehow that baby was more than just a baby.
But if we stop to think about the incarnation, and if we’re honest with ourselves, it’s about the most unthinkable thing, isn’t it? The only way we can reckon it even being possible is to say that “with God all things are possible” and that “He does whatever He pleases”.
So often people seem to meditate on the fact that God would become a baby. We’re reminded of the smallness of His stature, the utter dependence upon His mother, the poverty of His earthly family.
But the marvel of the incarnation is not so much in the tininess of the Infant nor in the lowliness of His socioeconomic status, as consequential as these may seem to us, but rather that He would become human at all.
Would we lose our wonder if He had indeed walked upon the scene as a fully-grown, handsome, rich, powerful ruler? Those earthly things might impress us, but they don’t impress God. The gap between the rich and poor, the greatest and the weakest of our world as it is applied to the birth of Christ is a rather silly consideration in light of the infinite gap between the majesty, sufficiency, and immensity of our Creator and mankind’s collective vulgarity, dependence, and feeble littleness.
His humility and condescension would have been on display even if He had come as the most impressive of men, simply for having clothed Himself with flesh and blood.
But we are a bit dense and our values quite backwards, so in keeping with the lowliness of becoming like us, He showed us that the Mighty One of heaven needed nothing of earthly riches, power, or glory. He was content to empty Himself of the heavenly riches, power, and glory so that He might be like those He came to save.
We see in Jesus, the Word of God, all the perfections of character that are in God Himself; we see what it means to be Emmanuel, God with us. And we see what it means to be a truly great human being–in the only human life with which God is well pleased. His is a greatness so far beyond our reach that in the light of the incarnation and the life of Jesus Christ on earth, we see our desperate need for God to enter into our dark mess in order to pull us out of it.
The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. Isaiah 9:2
In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.
And so He came. The glory, the humility of the incarnation is not so much that Jesus was born small and poor, but that He was born into our world at all.
And so we are invited to come. And see. And receive. And worship this One to whom not only the wise men but also the angels of heaven bow down.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.