Imagine with me,
- Your legs are too weak to stand up or walk. If you want to get up or move someone must carry you.
- Your arms are weak and your hands uncoordinated. It is difficult for you to pick up and hold objects unless they are handed to you.
- Your head is large and heavy. So heavy that your neck can hardly support its weight.
- You lose your understanding and use of language. You can no longer speak to tell someone what you’re thinking, feeling, or what you want.
- You can no longer control your bowel movements. You are so weak someone else must clean you and bath you when you are dirty.
- You cannot feed yourself. You must rely on someone to bring you food or you will starve.
- You are weak, powerless, at the mercy of others.
You are… a baby.
The Christmas story makes the unexpected and counter-intuitive claim that God became a baby. At Christmas we celebrate the arrival of God to his creation. More than that, we celebrate God becoming a part of his creation. The Son of God left his position of status and glory in heaven to become a human infant. The one through whom the universe came to be, became a man. Why? He did it because it was the only way to save humans from the consequences of rejecting God.
This story defies common sense. Who would give up unfathomable glory to be born in an unsanitary barn? Who would freely relinquish absolute power to bless their enemies? Who would caste aside status and privilege to serve people who had already rejected their love? The Christmas story tells us that God would do all these things and more.
The Son of God gave up a position of glory and power, was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered, was crucified, died and then buried. Jesus Christ, truly man and truly God, left heaven to live his entire life in perfect obedience to God’s law and die on a cross to take the punishment for our sins.
When Jesus arrived on earth he did not come in might and power, he came in humility as an infant in a manger. When the Son of God became a man he came not to be served, but to serve his creatures. When the eternal Word of God became flesh he was not listened to but rejected, mocked, beaten, whipped, and crucified. When Christ came to earth he did not come as a conquering king, he came as a humble servant to be “pierced for our transgressions… [and] crushed for our iniquities” (Isa. 53:5).
You see, in order to save us, God comes to us in seeming weakness. Stripped of his grandeur and glory God condescends to our lowly estate in order that he might raise us up even as Christ was raised from the grave! It is through the weakness and folly of the incarnation and the cross that God displays his power to save sinners.
Each Christmas we remember this strange truth: God became a baby. In doing so God teaches us that true power comes not from wealth, social status, physical prowess, or superior intelligence. True power is found in sacrificial service and love.