** This post was copied from our Christmas letter this year – so don’t feel bad about skipping it if you’ve already read it. Otherwise, you are definitely obligated to read it in its entirety :-) **
It’s cliché to talk about how having children changes your view of God – but having a newborn this Advent season has definitely given me a whole new perspective on the Incarnation.
God became man. It’s a weighty thought any time – but this Advent, I’m struck with the reality that God became infant.
Part of being a human is having physical and psychological needs – a need for food and clothing and shelter, for comfort and companionship. And part of being a human newborn is having no way of fulfilling those needs by oneself – and only one way of expressing those needs to others. An infant cries.
As Tirzah Mae squalls in her bed or on a blanket or in my arms, I contemplate that Jesus – God Himself – cried. And as I run through the list of possible causes of Tirzah Mae’s distress, I contemplate that Jesus had an earthly mother who was just as clueless as I, who struggled to meet the needs of her newborn. I contemplate how the Creator of the Universe became dependent on His creation. What humiliation! And for what cause?
Philippians 2:6-8 tells us why Jesus came: “…though he was in the form of God, [He] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
Jesus had all the needs humans have save one. Everything my Tirzah Mae needs, He needed – except one thing. Tirzah Mae, perfect though she may seem, was born sinful, under the wrath of God. Jesus was not. He had no need to be saved from the wrath of God because He didn’t deserve the wrath of God. Yet Jesus Christ came, bore the humiliation of being a human infant so that He could go to the cross – so that He could bear the wrath Tirzah Mae and I deserve. I can feed and clothe and comfort my Tirzah Mae, but I can never save her. Yet Jesus – Jesus came as a little infant like her so that He could save her.
Cliché though it may be, as I reflect on and care for my wonderful early Christmas gift, I am reminded of the greatest Christmas gift of all – and I am thankful that God became infant in Jesus Christ, that God became sin in Jesus Christ, that God bore the penalty of my sin in Jesus Christ, and that in Jesus Christ my greatest need is met.
I pray this Christmas that we all may come to know the great salvation for which Jesus humiliated Himself.