A baby who is so much more than a baby
The trouble, for a Pastor, of blogging just before Christmas is that any good insights on the Christmas story are ones he wants to keep for the Christmas services. After all there are only so many things you can say about Christmas right?
Wrong. There are many, many things that can be said. For instance we are all familiar with the storyline of Christmas, perhaps so familiar that we think we know what it is about before we hear it or read it and so we only ever get out of that which we already (thought) we knew. We know the claim that this baby was no ordinary baby, or at least (I hope) those coming to churches regularly do. Perhaps in the wider culture the baby is just another baby. But for Christians we understand that this baby was unique. He was, and is, second person of the Trinity and that means that he was, and is, God. I say "is" becasue God does not die and the human nature that he took on died but was raised again. Jesus matters not just for what and who he was but for what and who he is.
But my thoughts began with the fact that there are more things to be said about Christmas than we might think. One of these is that, even though we know that Jesus was God's Son incarnate, made flesh or taking on to himself [by addition] a human form, we perhaps don't always appreciate the reasons for that. As Christians we know that he came to die for us. He came to live a perfect life that we ought to have lived and to die the death we deserved. He came to bear away our punishment. But that is not the only reason. Indeed there is at least one reason at least as important, because without it, his death and resurrection would have no meaning for us at all. God the Son became man for us so that, in him, in his humanity, we might be raised to a new life. We were made for union with Christ, to join with him in his communion with his Father, through the Holy Spirit. When we fell into sin we severed our relationship and needed to be rescued. Forgiveness of sins is part of that rescue. But the major cause of that is that, through his humanity, Jesus joins believers to himself so that they can be restored fully to that communion that was lost. It is because we are united to Christ that his death is meaningful for us. When he died, those who were to be saved had their sins die with him, and when he rose again to new life, they too rose with him. God became a lowly man so that, in and through him, men and women can be raised with him and partake of the divine glory. That is truly staggering!
And he became man for other reasons as well. He did so to finish the mission that Israel was supposed to carry out. He did so to overcome death and defeat the devil. He did so to reveal to us the nature and power and character of the Father. He did so in order that he might become our great High Priest. A priest was one who stood between God and man and mediated God to man and man to God. But as ordinary human priests themselves needed a mediator this was always less than perfect. But now we have a perfect High Priest, one who knows us and how we feel, are tempted and so on.
These are great things to meditate on this Christmas. The baby is so much more than a baby. He is God come to dwell amongst us and to save us.