Monday, March 29, 2010

The Reason for the Season

This is an assignment I needed to do on the meaning of Christmas.

I want discuss the “Reason for the Season” of Christmas. I know this is a clichéd statement, but it is important that we take some time to think about Jesus. Most of us turn our attention to the wonderful nativity story recounted in Luke. This is a nice story and typically recalls wonderful romantic notions of our childhood. However, what this story expresses is a truth that we do not think about often enough. We read the nativity story and marvel at the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ birth, but we so easily forget to consider that at that moment God became human. Think about the juxtaposition of that thought. God became human. It is almost unbelievable to think that the divine came as a human. God was not just in the form of a man, He did not just fill a man, and He did not just take on the nature of man, for a brief moment in the history of time: God became man. Heaven must have been holding its breath at the thought. The Gospel of John has no telling of the nativity, however he does tell us in 1:14 that, “the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (NAS) I want us to consider this thought as Christmas approaches.

For many of us our words mean almost nothing. We toss the word “love” easily in reference to our favorite sports team, television show, or cell phone. If I have loving thoughts for my wife, yet never speak these loving words, my thoughts to her are useless. Words mean something. The words we use towards our children and friends shape their lives. Just a quick complement can change someone’s day. Words to God also mean something. God could have thought the world in being. He instead spoke the world into being. When he thought creation was good, he said so. He did not leave us to wonder if creation was everything he thought it should be. When Jesus was baptized, he spoke words of affirmation over him. John’s Gospel relates Jesus to the Word. This places Jesus squarely in the center of creation. He was at creation and involved in creation. The creator became creation. The Word became flesh.

Even speaking the idea of flesh brings temporal notions to mind. Flesh is temporary and can be easily bruised. To think that the transcendent creative God became flesh is almost too much to bear. Jesus did not just enter into flesh; he became flesh. The popular song “What if God was One of Us?” by Joan Osborne deals briefly with this issue. What the singer does not realize is that God was one of us. He was tempted, he breathed, he hurt, and he felt joy. He did not endure this like one of us, he was one of us. This moment when the unimaginable happened is crucial for the salvation of humankind. God humbled himself to be one of us. Therefore, God showed himself to be infinitely concerned for humankind. He became relatable. And he showed us the way.

So what is the big deal with Christmas? It is one of the 4 most important moments in the history of humanity. God became more than words on a page, He became the Word in the flesh. Christmas provides us with an opportunity to contemplate this. It is more than the image of the nativity. It is the moment of the unimaginable. It is the moment when God became one of us.

1 comment:

  1. So true - I love these reflections on God becoming human!

    But gotta ask: there at the end, what would you say are the other top 3 moments in humanity's history? As a reader or hearer, I could take a guess; but then I'd be distracted from digesting your main message. So, even in parentheses, consider naming those other things whenever you mention such a tantalizing list.