We Just Go Nuts At Christmas   1 comment

Hi, this is Brad because Lela is probably cooking Christmas Eve dinner.

Ah, Christmas, season of goodwill toward … uh, well, not my fellow man judging by the guy who flipped me off in the parking lot when I took the parking space he wanted and the woman who shrieked at the store clerk because the latest Star Wars bauble was sold out.

Peace on earth might come about if someone could find and destroy the musak machine and slip tranquilizers into the alcohol supply, but I know that’s dreaming.

What exactly gets people in such a tizzy? Is it being forced to give gifts to people they probably can’t stand the rest of the year? Surely it can’t be that you actually have to vacuum before guests come over! I thought we were the only people who neaten up before letting non-residents into the house. No?

Yeah, okay, I’m glad to know I’m not alone. I grew up in a very Irish Catholic family … BOSTON Irish Catholic, so for most of my childhood, Christmas started with going to church on Christmas Eve afternoon to confess my sins so I could take communion at the candlelight service and then going home to Christmas Day which was essentially a drunken party where the adults got into huge fights over football and broke the furniture wrestling in the living room. I haven’t made peace with that yet, but Lela has mostly made peace with her family’s issues and I would love to be in the same mind-space because I know it’s a healthy place to be. Meanwhile, I live in Alaska and do my best to avoid the Saturnalia while concentrating on Christ’s birth. Yeah, IF he makes it heaven, the pope who decided it was a good idea to hide Christmas in Saturnalia is going to have some explaining to do.

But let’s take a deep breath and consider Christmas for a moment. A cousin (or, er, I think he’s really my father’s second ex-wife’s kid by a third marriage) is all up in arms this year about Christmas. He keeps posting Facebook memes (like that word? Lela taught it to me) about how God is a sadistic bastard for sending his kid down here to be killed.

I decided not to respond directly, but hey, Lela has a blog for a reason.

So, just to set the record straight —

Jesus is God come to earth as a flesh and blood human being so He could understand us.

I know! We make a big deal about how Jesus is the Son of God, but that’s really not the true relationship. Jesus consistently referred to Himself as “Son of Man.” Why? The simplistic understanding is that “Son of God” focuses on His deity and “Son of Man” implies His humanity. Both are true.

Jesus was, during His lifetime on earth, a human being, but He is and remains God, the Second Person of the Trinity with all of the divine nature fully in Him.

 

Jesus was born of a human woman and conceived by the Holy Spirit. He had no human father in the physical sense. Jesus was and remains divine and He was human during His lifetime on Earth.

But there is a more important and sophisticated historical insight buried behind the simplistic explanation. In Daniel 7, the Bible introduces “the Son of Man” as a very exalted figure. It must mean something that Jesus adopted the term as His favorite self-designation.

Mark 10:45 “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” That’s just one example.

On the face of it, Son of Man is an ordinary phrase for “human being.” Jesus was born as a human. But if you know about Daniel 7, you know He was claiming a very exalted role in the history of redemption. Mark 10 suggests He meant to fulfill that role.

Jesus subtly revealed His identity to those with eyes to see, but He didn’t announce it so blatantly that everybody would come and make Him king. He steered a very narrow course in disclosing His identity, rather than openly announcing, “I’m the Messiah, I’m the King of the World. Come and acknowledge me as King.”

Instead He would make claims that were explicit in certain settings and implicit in others. Only when the time was right—mainly when He was on trial for His life, and they asked, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the living God?”—did he say, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man coming with great power and glory.” So He confessed His open deity right at the point where He knew He would be crucified for it.

It would be very cruel if God sent a helpless baby to Earth to die for our sins, but in reality, Jesus was God Who voluntarily stepped down into human flesh so that He could understand us. I don’t completely understand why that would be necessary … maybe it wasn’t and He was just curious as to why His creation keeps wandering from His loving-kindness … but whether I fully understand why or how it was possible for God to become a human being is not nearly as important as what He accomplished in doing it.

He put a human face to deity. He understands why we struggle with sin. He gave Himself to fulfill His own requirements rather than have us do it. There is absolutely no reason to be angry at God for sending Jesus to die in a barbaric way because God Himself sent Himself to earth knowing that we humans would kill God rather than admit that He loves us … but He also knew that some folks would recognize His sacrifice and let Him save them.

Pause and take a moment to consider that the baby in the manger was God Himself submitting to our messy existence so that He might love us all the more by understanding us fully. The creator of the universe enduring hunger and crappy diapers, skinning his knees and doing chores, puberty, ridicule, shame, cold, sleeplessness and hatred, and even torture, humiliation and death by one of the most barbaric forms of execution ever devised … and He chose to do it because He loves you, and wants you to be reconciled to Him, which will bring peace to you that could, if you let it, spread to others.

Merry Christmas.

Peace on Earth

Goodwill to Mankind

One response to “We Just Go Nuts At Christmas

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  1. Pingback: Christmas Wars | aurorawatcherak

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