The Radical Conundrum Of Christmas

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“But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel (which means, God with us)” (Matthew 1:20-23).

The Incarnation was one of God’s greatest miracles. It makes no sense except for the grace of our omnipotent and loving God. Jesus came at a terrible time. The Roman Empire, the greatest power on earth at the time, occupied Israel. Oppressed Israel was a small, insignificant nation without a military. Jesus came in weakness, not in power. He came alone as a baby, the most vulnerable and helpless. Jesus was born to poor, insignificant parents. Moreover, Jesus’s parents were betrothed but not yet married, ensuring that he and they would live under a cloud of gossip and social disapproval all His earthly life.

Jesus came in humility, not in grandeur. The source of all splendor was born in a manger with farm animals. Angels announced His birth, but the world was ignorant of His birth except for a few shepherds and wise men from the East. When the wise men told the Jewish leaders of his birth, the Jerusalem leaders were too preoccupied with their worldly affairs even to investigate.

Jesus was born into danger.  When King Herod heard about His birth, he immediately set out to kill the baby. The young family had to flee south to Egypt to protect the child from King Herod.

Jesus came to a people who did not want Him and rejected Him. “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him”(John 1:11). The world rejects Him still.

Jesus came to save us. Jesus derives from the Hebrew word  Y’hosûa, which means “Jehovah” or “saved.” Christmas reminds us that God stepped out of eternity into time, out of infinity, into Bethlehem Judea, in order to save us from our sins. He saved us by taking all our sins upon His Divine Person and dying on the cross in our place. This is Christmas. This is why we celebrate Christmas.

“Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!”(2 Corinthians 9:15).

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