Christmas is next week! I wonder if, like me, you’d find it helpful to take a breath, pause, and reflect on the significance of this celebration. So please, let me take just a couple of moments of your day to remind you of the wonder of Christmas.
Each night I read the Bible with our 3 year old son, and the other night we happened to be reading about God’s promises to Abraham, as God takes Abraham out to the night sky and invites him to count the stars, promising that one day his children will outnumber them. Our children’s Bible has a delightful picture of an awestruck Abraham gazing up at the seemingly infinite number of stars, struggling to comprehend the magnitude of this promise, yet believing God and taking him at his word. The stars filling the night sky portrayed God’s magnificent promise to Abraham, but it struck me that this also captures something of the wonder of Christmas.
See, Abraham couldn’t count the stars, but God can name them. Abraham couldn’t even see them all, but God created each one. Abraham didn’t even understand the nature of these pinpricks of light, but God is the one who causes them to burn and spin. Abraham was small, but God is immense—more than that, he is infinite. For all the vast expanse of space, even space does not compare to the reality of our God who cannot be measured or quantified. And that infinite God chose to make himself known by stepping into his finite creation in a body of flesh roughly 3.5 kg heavy and 50 cm long.
More than that even, this God spoke a promise to Abraham with such power that the impossible could be conceived of (pun intended) as possible. At one level God’s promise to Abraham seems easy to believe when you remember that his same Word had spoken those stars into existence. Yet this God of power beyond comprehension chose to condense his power—the power of his Word—into something so fragile and powerless as a newborn baby.
And if there could be even more than this, this is the God of all history stepping into history. The God without beginning and without end, for whom a thousand years is like a day and a day is like a thousand years, this God condescended to engage with human history. Not only did he address a man named Abram (which ironically means ‘exalted father’) and said he would be Abraham (‘father of a multitude’) and then act to make this happen, but this eternal God ultimately chose to reveal himself through a span of roughly 33 humble years from manger to cross.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Life beyond measure in 3.5 kg. Power beyond comprehension in a fragile newborn. Eternity revealed in one short lifespan. All so that he could make himself known and bring us home.
So please join me. Take a breath, pause, and give thanks for Christmas.