Silent Night! Holy Night!
2 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to his own town to register.
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:1-7)
It amazes me. And once my own kids were born — watching the birth and then holding them in my hands (for they were really tiny!) — it amazed me even more. God, the Creator of the Universe, became human.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
Jesus, from eternity past, is fully God. He has all the attributes (qualities) and prerogatives (rights) of God. Jesus is infinite. Jesus is omnipotent (all powerful). Jesus is omniscient (all knowing). Jesus is omnipresent (everywhere at the same time). Jesus is God. John says that he is the eternal Word of God that was with God from the beginning and is the actual agent of creation — in other words, nothing in creation was made without him (John 1:1-3). When God spoke (Genesis 1), it was Jesus that went forth and created. Jesus is God.
God knew that animal sacrifices were only a symbolic retribution for sin. Lambs were not people — therefore, they could not actually pay for people’s sins. It would have to be a human being. God also knew that a sinful man could only pay for his own sins. And each of us can only die once and then comes our own judgement (Hebrews 9:27). No, it would take someone more to do the work required.
So Jesus, the eternal God, voluntarily took on human flesh. The sinless eternal One died once, for all people. The sacrificial offer was made for all people, but inexplicably not all people will accept that offer. Nevertheless, God became man. The divine became human. The Creator moved in among the created. The all-powerful One became a helpless babe. Both the prophecy and the angelic instruction was to call that child’s name Immanuel — “God With Us”!
For today, Christmas Day, stop long enough to ponder the wonder of all this. It was for you.