Thursday, December 21, 2017

When God Became Small

My handpainted creche
One Christmas when I was editorial assistant on a Christian youth magazine, we printed a centerfold poster of hands holding up a tiny newborn baby--squalling, eyes squeezed shut, and still covered with the evidences of birth. Across the poster blazed the headline, "GOD WITH US!"

Not the picture we usually conjure up amid the tinsel and glitter of our Christmas celebrations. And we were criticized for that poster.

We usually think of the birth of Jesus as it is depicted in the art of the masters with a halo above His head, beautiful robes on His mother and Joseph, and happy animals gazing on the scene. We set up our magnificent manger scenes that glamorize His birth.

While I appreciate all the lovely art and I too set up a creche I handpainted years ago, they tend to cause us to forget the stark reality of the birth of the Son of God in a cave strewn with hay, His cradle a manger, because there was no room for Him anywhere else.

We so easily forget the blood, sweat, and tears that brought Him into the world. We need to linger at the manger in Bethlehem to truly know how poor He became for us.

In Philippians 2:7, the Apostle Paul paints a word picture of the self-emptying of Jesus, Creator of the universe, at whose words everything came into being. He...

He emptied Himself of His supreme power, majesty, and authority, His favored position, His good reputation to become a servant of all.

We know Christ's ultimate destiny, the reason for which He was born, was Calvary. Without the Cross, the Christmas story is incomplete. He came to die for us so that we may be reconciled to God and have eternal life.

Yet, we need to stay awhile at the manger, for it was here that God actually became a tiny, vulnerable, dependent baby, that He might experience the human condition and minister to us in our weakness.

It was at the manger that God, for our sakes, became small.

"Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!" And find in Him strength and comfort in your human weakness and salvation for your soul.

May you have a blessed Christmas!

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