What did we just celebrate?

At Christmas time, Christians celebrate the birth of a king---God's son, who was named Jesus.

At Christmas time, Christians celebrate the birth of a king—God’s son, who was named Jesus. Leaving the glories of heaven, he humbled himself to live among us as a commoner. Normally, we would expect a king to arrive with great pomp and glory. So did the Jews of the first century. That’s why they couldn’t believe it was really the promised Messiah when he finally arrived.

Romans struggled with the concept too. When the good news of Jesus Christ was first proclaimed, Romans laughed at the idea of a god who would become human.

It was a well- known “fact” that people came from one side of the tracks, and the gods came from the other.  Apart from occasional contact, the two didn’t mix.

The thought of God becoming human was ridiculous.  The thought of nobility stooping to rub shoulders with peasants was hilarious.

But that’s what God’s son did.  He came as a baby.  Being an infant, he couldn’t even fight off a fly buzzing around his face.

He had no defense against the flick of a cow’s tail, let alone King Herod’s soldiers who sought to kill him.  And yet, this vulnerable infant, this apparent nobody, was called “Immanuel” which means “God with us” (Matthew 1:23).

And who did God announce this baby’s arrival to?  A motley group of shepherds—not the Jerusalem post.  God sent an angel to these farm laborers telling them, “Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

Today in the town of David a savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).

It thrills me that God sent his heavenly messenger to such commoners.  It tells me that Jesus came to identify with humans in all our sinfulness and weakness.

He didn’t come to be served but to serve.  He came to experience cold, hunger, and exhaustion.  He came to endure complaints, opposition and, ultimately, crucifixion—all because of love.

On that night in the stable in Bethlehem, he arrived undressed and helpless, later to die on a cross so that we could be dressed in his royal righteousness and be adopted as God’s children for all eternity.

That is truly reason to celebrate Christmas—and all year long as well.