What’s the big deal about Christmas?

If you’ve grown up in America, you have probably seen a nativity scene.  A little baby peacefully sleeping or smiling in a manger, maybe with a little halo around his head.

A mother, a father, a few shepherds (depending on how elaborate the set is, maybe some sheep and a donkey, too), and three wise men.  And not the little drummer boy, because he really wasn’t there.

I loved the nativity set as a child, because it was tradition in my family.  I had my own little nativity set, as a matter of fact.  I knew the baby was Jesus, but there was a big jump for me between that baby Jesus all nestled up in a manger and the Jesus who took on the sins of the world and died on the cross.  What happened in between?

A lot of things happened in between, but what I didn’t realize was there was no big jump.  The little baby in the manger was not later, through random circumstances, going to find Himself in the worst human cruelty.

No, that baby was going to choose to be there.  Actually, He’d already chosen, and that was why He was in a manger to begin with.

The cross was in no way unfortunate.  It was the purposeful laying down of life by God Himself.

As I try to imagine that little baby in an animal feeding trough, born about 2,000 years ago, I just can’t wrap my mind about Him being baby God.  There’s no confusion for me in believing the adult Jesus was and is God . . but a baby?

And that’s the big deal about Christmas.  God came as a baby.  As a baby!  As a vulnerable newborn with a soft spot in His head.  As an unwalking, untalking baby wrapped tightly in a measure of cloth.  Now what god, what god that I can possibly imagine, would be willing to experience infancy?  There is an all-out war going on in Heaven and Hell between God and Satan–and God steps off the throne, out of the realm where thousands of angels stand guard, to develop in a poor woman’s womb?

This is something I could never think up in my wildest dreams.  This is beyond anything Sci-Fi has ever made up.  And yet this is the reality represented in the manger.

God as a baby?

That’s the big deal about Christmas.

The Word became flesh, and lived among us. (John 1:14a, WEB)

 

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