As smart as we think we are, we really don’t understand God. His purposeful plan wasn’t simply a stroke of genius, it was a calculated objective set in motion from the foundations of the earth. After all, God doesn’t have moments of brilliance. He’s brilliant all the time.
But concerning the birth of Jesus–a singular moment in history–what was God thinking?
Instead of millionaire monarchs God picked parents of poverty for His Son. As an alternative to a supernatural palace, God chose His Son to be born in a gloomy grotto among farm animals–cows, sheep and goats. Rather than a bejeweled bed, the Holy Child lay in a stone-hard feeding trough. In place of plush blankets, Emmanuel, God-with-us, was wrapped in coarse hand-woven cloths. There were no trumpets to herald the moment and no angels seen hovering over the manger. The night was silent.
So why would God choose for His Son to appear on the scene as a small, helpless baby? Why put Him through the vulnerability of being an infant–totally helpless and dependent on others for His survival? Why should Jesus have to endure the erratic and awkward season of puberty? After all, God had created Adam as a full grown man. Surely He could do the same with Jesus.
Why would God do such a thing?
May I offer three possibilities?
Humanity, Humility and Access
Adam, a human, lost our relationship with God when he chose to eat from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, so a human had to be the one to reclaim what was lost. Only a human could restore that relationship. But it couldn’t be just any human It had to be a human who understood the extent of the loss and who could be a perfect, unblemished, innocent-as-a-baby sacrifice. Sort of like an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, Adam’s choice condemned man to an eternal death so Jesus came (as a human) to reverse that sentence and bring eternal life.
We don’t really understand the enormity or the absurdity of what Jesus did. He willfully set aside all His God-ness in order to experience life on earth first-hand. Basically, He said, “I’ll come down to your level because you can’t possibly come up to mine.”
Isaiah says, “Even our best works are as filthy rags.” In other words, the biggest and best we have to offer, our most majestic and mighty works, are simply a child’s cartoon on God’s refrigerator door. As beautiful and inspired as this world is, it’s a caricature compared to Heaven. Jesus volunteered to leave His majesty and glory behind to become our bridge to a perfect and Holy God. Jesus humbled Himself, even to death on a cross, to bridge that gap.
From God’s perspective, whether in a castle or a cave, coming to dwell on earth was a step down. So He invited a willing young teenager to be the mother of His Son and a simple tradesman to be His step-father. Jesus came to us with the humblest of beginnings, the lowest of the low, which brings us to access.
Kings in palaces are hard to reach. In order to get an audience with a king, one has to jump through one or more hoops such as: have an appointment, have a specific reason to meet (which must be vetted and approved by others), go through background checks, be a person of influence, be invited or be a friend of the king.
By presenting His Son to the world in a stable God was saying to us–the door is open to all. There’s no “Restricted Access” sign on the Door to Heaven. Jesus has made eternal life available to everyone.
As absurd as Christmas is from a human’s perspective, God knew what He was doing. It was the perfect solution to the problem of sin and the restoration of relationship with mankind. Let’s celebrate the first coming of Jesus and invite Him into our lives. Today Jesus is waiting for us at the manger with open arms and forgiveness for our sins. Let’s not waste the opportunity.
Because, He’s coming back again, and next time He appears…
(To be continued…)