Summary: Christmas Message: We have not grown weary of this ancient story. A baby in a manger. Shepherds in a field. Why do the events in a small Jewish village more than 2000 years ago still intrigue the human mind and soul? The incarnation... God taking upon
In Jesus Holy Name December 24, 2010
Christmas Eve– Matthew 2:1-4 Redeemer
“The Finger Prints of God....Visible”
Each and every Christmas I am amazed at the impact of the old, old story of God’s incarnation has on people. We have not grown weary of this ancient story. A baby in a manger. Shepherds in a field. The light and music of angels filled the dark sky. After 2000 plus years of exhausting repetition why do the events in the small Jewish village of Bethlehem still intrigue us?
Is it the momentum of long established traditions? Homes are decorated with juniper and holly. We deck our shrubs and frame our homes with tiny white lights. Our living rooms display a decorated tree. Ornaments commemorate vacation memories past or family history. Nativity scenes grace our lawns and mantles.
Ironic, all this decking and glitter when the movement of God that Christmas recalls is away from glitter and tinsel.
The event of Christmas is about remembering who is responsible for this whole Christmas thing. The truth of Christmas is wrapped in the words of the angel. “Today a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord.” It was and remains a message of joy. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son so that whoever would believe in him might have eternal life.”
It was a very bold thing for God to do. God chose to take upon Himself human finger prints. Unique. Special. The baby, born in Bethlehem, to Mary and Joseph, like every other human baby, was born in the normal way. Yet, at the same time God Himself, the Creator of the universe decided to enter human history and possess his own special and unique finger prints. Mary and Joseph gave him the name Jesus, just as the angel had told them.
Did you know that Christmas was originally a worship service called the Christ Mass, a celebration of the Incarnation? It was and is a celebration of the first in kind event when God became a human being; deity put on flesh and blood. For a period of time, the invisible Creator of all things came to live on earth as a human being.
The great theologian G.K. Chesterton correctly called the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem an “enormous exception”, something absolutely unique.
We realize that in this economic driven culture in which we now live, the word “incarnation” does not sell toys. The celebration of the “Christ Mass” will not bring human eyes to view the windows in the stores of merchants.
To be sure most people believe that there was some kind of Creator or “Intelligent Designer” who made the universe and then stepped away. The scientific fact that galaxies don’t crash into each other and the knowledge that gravity holds things in place cannot be a random accident.
But to acknowledge that an omnipotent Creator would take the form of a helpless infant, in which the hands that made the universe would become hands too small to reach beyond a crib, staggers the human mind. Yet this is the miracle of the Incarnation. This is the celebration of the Christ Mass.
Never before, nor sense, has any religion ever even hinted that the One invisible maker of all things became a human being and dwelt on earth, but this is what Christianity claims for the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. It was a bold thing for God to do in order to be known.
He chose to have the fate of the world rest upon the response of a small town teenage girl and her 20 plus year old fiancé. How many times did Mary go over the words of the angel, as she felt the growing infant kicking against the wall of her uterus? How many times must Joseph have second guessed his own encounter with the angel – just a dream?
How easy it would have been for Joseph to explain away a dream while living under the gossip of neighbors who could plainly see the changing shape of the woman he planned to marry.
I am impressed that when the Son of God became a human being he played by the rules, harsh rules. For we all know small towns do not treat kindly young boys who grow up with a questionable paternity.
When the story of the “incarnation” was told the Romans laughed at the idea of a “god” becoming flesh with real finger prints. Oh, sure, a Roman “god” might have a fling with a mortal woman and then disappear to a better realm. But then, you know your side of the tracks and the gods know theirs. The Creator of the Universe taking upon himself flesh and bone, born into the world as an infant…Hilarious!