The Outrageous Claim of Christmas

At the dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem, Solomon prayed, “Will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple” (1 Kings 8:27).

Yet there is this outrageous claim by the followers of Jesus of Nazareth. God, in the person of his Son, came in the flesh. The Creator of all things, the one whom “the heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain,” came into his creation as a human being. He was conceived in the womb of a woman. Jesus of Nazareth, born like any other human baby, grew, lived, and died. His disciples claimed Jesus was God, the Son of God, in the flesh! Jesus was God dwelling on earth!

The apostle John wrote, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:1-3, 14).

Max Lucado vividly captures the mystery, the awe, of the coming of the Son of God in the flesh. “The omnipotent, in one instant, made himself breakable. He who had been spirit became pierceable. He who was larger than the universe became an embryo. And he who sustains the world with a word chose to be dependent upon the nourishment of a young girl. God as a fetus. Holiness sleeping in a womb. The creator of life being created.” (God Came Near, 1987, p. 25)

One writer expressed his struggle with the outrageousness of the claim of Christianity. “The virgin birth has never been a major stumbling block in my struggle with Christianity; it’s far less mind-boggling than the Power of all Creation stooping so low as to become one of us.” (ChristianityTodayLibrary.com, 12/4/2000)

C. S. Lewis calls the incarnation, God coming in the flesh, Jesus, Immanuel, God with us, the grand miracle. “The Christian story is precisely the story of one grand miracle, the Christian assertion being that what is beyond all space and time, what is uncreated, eternal, came into nature, into human nature, descended into His own universe, and rose again, bringing nature up with Him.” (“The Grand Miracle” in God in the Dock, 1997, p. 80)

The apostle Paul wrote of Jesus, “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:6-8).

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