I’m sitting here looking over the family Nativity scene we set up every year for Christmas. Lisa and I have had this since we were first married, over 27 years ago. This morning in my Bible reading time, I read back through the two Gospel accounts of the birth of Christ, reminded of the enormity of what He really did to effect salvation for us. As we look upon the Manger scenes we display this holiday, I don’t think we fully grasp what it took for God to become man, to walk among us, to be our redemption.
Where He came from– I read in two passages the descriptions of the throne room of Heaven, of Him “who dwells in unapproachable light.” Isaiah 6:1-4 speaks of the Lord, “high and exalted,…and the train of His robe filled the temple.” The prophet describes amazing winged creatures flying and crying out, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” Then in Revelation 4:1-11, John describes his vision, with similarities. He sees a brilliant throne, flashes of lightning from it, surrounded by a rainbow. The One seated upon it was dazzling as precious gem stones. The description is astounding. Words here would not do justice, as I’m sure John felt when he tried to pen what he beheld. Go read it.
Jesus Christ left that, to come here, via a far corner of the Roman empire, the dust of Palestine, among the poor, oppressed Jews, to a cold, smelly stable in a little town called Bethlehem.
What He did– John begins his Gospel with the declaration, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God from the beginning.” Those descriptions in Isaiah and Revelation, and others across Scripture, portray who Jesus Christ really was/is, and what He left to come for us. John goes on to make this amazing assertion in v.14- “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us…” God Almighty left the unending brilliance and worship of Heaven, to take on human flesh, and live with us. Paul writes this about Jesus in Philippians 2:7- “Who, being in very nature God,…He emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” This “King of kings, Lord of lords,” set aside His rights as God of the universe. He poured Himself down into the body of a baby human, entered our world through the birth canal of a teen mother, and lived among us in the dirt and filth of a world that largely no longer knew Him.
Jesus Christ did that, for us. You and me. Verse 8 says, “Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself (emphasis mine) by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
He left the indescribable splendor and adulation of Heaven, to come to this dusty, sin-filled earth. He veiled His deity in human skin, and walked among us. He took our sin upon Himself, suffering the punishment we deserved.
That is astounding beyond words. That is LOVE.
May you be filled with wonder and worship, every time you gaze upon a Nativity scene this season. And then carry that wonder and worship with you every day hence.