The wonder, the mystery of Christmas

Augustine wrote in the 5th century…

Oh food and bread of Angels, the Angels are filled by you, but where are you for my sake? In a mean lodging, in a manger. He who rules the stars, sucks at the breast; he who speaks in the bosom of the Father, is silent in the Mother’s lap. …Behold him lying in a manger; he is reduced to tininess, yet He has not lost anything of Himself; He has accepted what was not His, but He remains what He was. Thus behold the infant Christ.

I like how Rich Nathan, senior pastor of Vineyard Columbus in Columbus, OH, said it in a recent congregational newsletter:

In other words, if you dig down to the roots of Christianity what you will not find is a discussion of Jesus being a great man. What you will find at the very roots is that Jesus is Lord and God. And as the English writer C.S. Lewis said:

“What is most interesting, what we must remember is that the people who were saying that Jesus is Lord and God are the least likely people on the face of the planet to have said it, if it wasn’t true.”

The folks who were running around the Roman Empire proclaiming Jesus is God were Jews. The writers of the vast bulk of the New Testament were Jews. And if ever there were a group of people on the face of the planet who were fiercely monotheistic, who believed in the unity of God, the oneness of God, if ever there were a group of people who by culture, by history, by their frame of mind would be disinclined to believe that God would take on human flesh, it was the Jewish people. And yet, these were the people who went around saying, “God came down. God came as a man.” The wonder of Christmas – God came down. God took on flesh and lived in the world that he made.

God reduced to tininess … to a baby … whose skull, as Fredrick Buechner said, could easily be crushed with a human hand.  Oh the mystery and wonder of Christmas!

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