God became man. Jesus Christ, one part of the triune God of the universe, gave up His privileges and humbled Himself, to take on flesh. To become human.
Books have been written about this theological truth. Words and more words have proclaimed how the King of kings came to earth as a lowly infant. We do well to pay attention. The Incarnation is the very bedrock of the Christian faith. God, rejecting all that was His by right, condescended to us. In our absolute need, He stepped into brokenness, pain, and sin and He stood by our side, in our shoes, in our place. He let go of His divine standing and lovingly embraced humanity.
Think about that. God became man. There is no human parallel, no analogy that will do that justice. We do not possess the capacity to create a story or song that will allow us to fully explain the depth of sacrifice that the Incarnation truly is.
Yet even in our meager understanding, we have caught a glimpse of the enormity of it all. The unimaginable humbling of the Son of God. Though we are unable to appreciate the totality of that great act, we know enough to realize what it means for us. Without God becoming man, we have no path back to God. The way is shut. We cannot enter. Christianity declares the truth of this. Our faith is built on it.
Sadly, it seems we frequently miss a key part of the Incarnation. Yes, we fully believe that God became man. We unreservedly accept that He gave up His throne to come to earth as a baby. Yet do we stop to think about why He had to come the way He did? Why was He born in such a lowly manner? Our theology is clear on this. He came as a servant. He came in humility to show humanity a better way. He came as the Messiah for all, not just for the rich and powerful.
I believe it is more than that though. I believe that the manger, the animals, and the lack of worldly acknowledgment, is God’s gentle whisper that the path back to Him is one of humility and condescension.
In the Old Testament story found in 1 Kings 19, God speaks to His prophet Elijah in a most unexpected way: a gentle whisper. God had previously sent a whirlwind, an earthquake, and a fire, but His voice was in none of those. He did not use the loud and impressive. Instead, He chose as intimate form of communication possible. He whispered.
God is capable of blowing us away with His words. He can speak as loudly as needed, as the plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, and the stopping of the sun’s movement clearly demonstrate. Yet he chose to whisper to us when He sent His Son. Yes, he sent His angels to announce the birth. Who did they announce the birth to? Shepherds. Lonely and solitary and insignificant shepherds. The very Son of God was born on earth as a baby and it was a gentle and intimate whisper.
We miss so much if we miss this. The incarnation was not loud, showy or impressive because the way to God is not loud, showy or impressive. The way to God is only possible when we accept the sacrifice made on our behalf in humility and a stripping off of our pride. It is not enough to accept that Jesus is God and that He gave His life to save us. We must accept that we are wholly undeserving of that sacrifice and that without it, we are forever lost. Without it, the path back to God is shut. The only way to God is on our knees, surrounded by shepherds, animals, and hay, praising the baby who is God become man. Worshiping the gentle whisper of the Almighty who is lying in a manger, who is the Savior of the world. This Christmas, let us do our best to listen carefully for that gentle whisper. It is the whisper of our salvation.
Merry Christmas from Rambling Ever On!