And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 ESV
I had the opportunity a couple weeks ago, to visit a display of nativities hosted by a church in Charleston. It was impressive.
There were dozens upon dozens of sets. Sets of all sizes; tiny ones that could fit in the palm of the hand, to a walk-in “Bethlehem” in a separate room. They were from all corners of the globe. Some were made of carved wood, some of glass, some of paper, and even one was carved into coal. So many varying interpretations of the most important night in history; it was impressive.
I imagine some of them more closely resemble the actual night of the Savior’s birth than others; though, as I’m not an eyewitness to the events (regardless of how old my church kids think I may be) I’m not entirely sure which; excepting perhaps the ones with leprechauns or Santa’s elves, I feel certain those don’t quite capture reality.
What really stood out to me while examining each crèche was the resemblance each scene bore to the culture from which the artist came who formed it; down to even the dress of the holy family. The African nativities looked like Africans, the European like Europeans, the Asian like Asians, etc.
Perhaps this occurs with every story we read; but there’s something beautifully appropriate about seeing ourselves in Christ’s birth. You see, Jesus left his place in heaven, dwelling in the unapproachable light of the glory of the triune God, to be, himself, the living, life-giving, light of the world. He did not come as one would expect the King of Kings.
He did not appear in a blaze, consuming the enemies of his people and declaring an immediate, actualized, reign on earth. No, he became flesh and blood. He didn’t just “look” human; he was one of us, fully, one hundred percent, completely one of us.
The scripture says that his appearance wasn’t noteworthy. In other words, not only did he come as one of us, he came as an average one of us. Jesus looked like any other baby boy born in that country in that time. We don’t worship an unseen God. We have seen him, in Jesus, and he looks like us.
What was the point of this fantastic miracle of coming as a human?
John 1:12-13 says “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
C.S Lewis sums it up this way: “The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God.”
As you celebrate this joyous holiday, remember that we celebrate this season because God came, and he came so that we may ultimately come to him.
I wish you, and your family a very Merry Christmas, may the blessings of our Lord Jesus be with you this day, and all the year to come!