Max Lucado wrote a book some time ago entitled “When God Came Near” that highlights what Christmas is all about. I think Lucado picked the perfect title because that’s what Christmas is really all about—GOD COMING NEAR! He came to earth as a human being so we could—among other things—know Him!
At the birth of Jesus, everything about God suddenly became seeable, touchable, and knowable. Jesus Christ is not only our idea of what God is like, He’s also God’s idea of what man was created to be like. He is FULLY God and FULLY man. He’s not some impersonal force.
Think about how God made his entrance onto this planet as a Human Being. He could’ve come in all of His glory, but who among us would be able to stand? Instead, He came into this world the same way we do, through a birth canal. He comes to us in human flesh because if He came in all His power and glory, we would be forced to follow Him because of the magnitude of that sheer power and glory. God doesn’t want us to follow Him because of His power. He wants us to follow Him because of His love.
I think of the movie, “Coming to America” in which Eddie Murphy plays an African Prince who is next in line for the throne in some far off African country. One of the more humorous scenes involved a woman that had been trained to be his wife! This woman was trained from birth to obey and fulfill his every command. When the Prince finally meets her, he decides to test her by commanding her to bark like a dog. She immediately begins to bark. He then has her hop on one foot. She immediately begins to hop. It was then the Prince realizes that he didn’t want someone to obey him like some kind of robot; he wanted someone who would love him.
The whole movie revolves around this Prince finding someone who would love him for who He is, not just because He would one day be King. This Prince comes to America not as a Prince but as an everyday common person in the search for someone who would love him for who he really is.
Let me suggest that’s part of the reason Jesus came to us in human flesh. He comes to us not as a KING, but as a SERVANT so that we will love Him for who HE really is and not because He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. (Philippians 2:6-11)
Don’t misunderstand what I’m getting at. The Bible does talk about a time when Jesus will return in all his GLORY and at that time every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean that that everyone will love Him. When Jesus returns for the second time EVERYONE, whether they love him or not, will be forced by His sheer glory to fall on their knees and confess Him as Lord.
Christmas is an opportunity to peer into the manger and see the love that God has for us. God sent His son into the world not to scare us, but to save us.
My prayer for all of us is that we will embrace the love in the manger.