Summary: The God from all eternity, whom the heavens cannot contain, comes as an infant. Jesus, the Exalted One, has been brought low, that He might raise us to unknown heights.
On this most blessed of nights, the God from all eternity, whom the heavens cannot contain, comes as an infant. Jesus, the Holy One, descends from His royal throne. He has come--a dirty, animals’ feeding trough for His bed.
On this most blessed of nights, the One too holy to touch has come among us. He has come to be born that we might be reborn from above. He has come to be defiled and die by the hand of man that we might be made holy and live by the hand of God.
On this most blessed of nights, Jesus, the Exalted One, has been brought low, that He might raise us to unknown heights, we who have been brought low by our sin and the grief of death. On this most blessed of nights, already the slavery from of old, as old as the Fall into sin, has been defeated.
This night, the devil is defeated and the satanic minions cower in fear. For Christ’s coming has destroyed the power of death, opening paradise to us, casting forever away the curse of sin. Jesus has come to unshackle us from our sin and shine forth the light of truth to all people. This night, God’s fallen creatures sing with the angels.
Yes, on this night, the One-and-Only, the Son of God Himself, humbly comes to destroy the works of Satan. Jesus, the Messiah, comes to be born. God becomes a creature to save His creatures, to restore His children, those dead in their trespasses and sins. The One, whom the universe cannot contain, comes to contain Himself in the prison-house of sin and death.
For this night, Jesus is born in Bethlehem. The One who grants us His riches becomes poor, putting on the poverty of flesh, that you may put on the richness of His divinity. He empties Himself of glory that you may have a share of His fullness.
Yes, the Word becomes flesh and lives among us. Christmas is real, not only an event of heaven. God is alive as a human infant, sleeping in a stable. Animals make noise. Dust fills the air. Musty, earthy smells assault the nostrils. The animals around the infant God are just as at home as the angelic armies. This night, the thorns are in fast retreat, while fields, rocks, hills, and plains are singing for the first time since the Fall into sin.
Why so? For this night the Word, Christ Jesus our Lord, being God, equal to the Father in His divinity, sets aside the glory of the Father. He clothes Himself in our humanity, wrapping Himself in flesh and bone. The One who is equal to the Father in His divinity becomes inferior to the Father in His humanity. On this night, it is not earth that comes to heaven, but the heavenly One Himself who comes to earth.
O great mystery beyond all telling! Why would the God of heaven and earth do this? Love and love alone. Love for you and me--wretched though we are--caused His incarnation. Love, and love alone, brings Him down to you: love deeper than the depths of sea, broader than the expanse of time, stronger than the will of man. For us men and for our salvation, He has come. It is a love where He would set aside--not only power and majesty, but life itself--to give life to us, His beloved creatures.
Jesus came among His own. But we did not recognize Him. For He had no beauty that we should adore Him, no attractiveness that we should esteem Him. The Light shone in the darkness, but we understood Him not. He was despised and rejected, and we welcomed Him not. He was a man of sorrows, familiar with grief. And we hid our faces from Him.
Yet, still Jesus comes on this most blessed of nights, overflowing with compassion on those who will kill Him. He has mercy on those who hate Him, love for those who hear not the words of the Word made flesh. Still He comes. For He sees what we once were before the Fall into sin: made in His image, formed in His likeness.
Yet, the Messiah also sees what we are: children of wrath, alienated from God, lacking true life, and languishing in the darkness of sin. Jesus sees fear strangling our hearts, helpless in the face of our fallenness, overcome by sin, enslaved by Satan, wanting what is wicked, and despising what is good.
God the Father also sees. He sees what we can be in Christ: redeemed, restored, returned to communion with our Creator. In His Son, God sees us raised to newness of life, brought into the life and love of the most Holy Trinity.