That kid in the feeding trough is not just some baby: Rethinking the divinity of Infant Jesus and our approach to Him on Christmas

   

To us a child is born. But no ordinary child. God, the eternal being from beyond time and space, the infinite beyond infinity, chose to take flesh and become one of us. This is the Christmas story. This is the cute, bundled baby laying in the feeding trough of some dank dark cave surrounded by animals and their foul smells.

The glory of the Christmas story is easy to overlook. Having grown-up in the church and having heard the story a million times, the narrative has become to me just another one of those quant stories told to me along with The Hobbit and Santa Clause. The nativity is nothing more than a collection of silhouettes which speak of Christmas time and the need to shop for most Americans.

The reality is, however, that Christ’s birth truly is the most important moment in all of human history. God, being who He is, could have chosen any moment in all time to take flesh and dwell among us. He could have chosen this modern, technologically advanced age. But he chose an obscure time and place to come to his creation and become one with us.

Why would He do such a thing?

I know the quant and straightforward answer that Christians are supposed to say: that our sin was great and we needed a way out so He became one of us ultimately to lead us out of the darkness of our lives.

Indeed.

But why take flesh? Why become a human at all? Couldn’t he come down in might and establish his kingdom with the sword, abolishing all sin and evil as all mighty God?

That would seem reasonable from a human way of thinking. Heck, if I were God and assuming that I would even want anything to do with my ant-like creation, becoming a lowly nat would be the last thing I would do. I would just divinely stamp-out my little bug-things and make new ones that could not be bad.

Such is the difference between human and God.

He took flesh to reveal Himself to us, no matter how infinitely lowly. And for some inexplicable reason, He loved us so much that he became the lowest even among us!

Because the Kingdom is backwards.  The weak are the great and powerful.

He became that baby not to just reveal himself, but to die by our hands.

God new from the eternal place of his existence long before things were created that he would die by our hands. And he took flesh for that very reason.

Since Adam was human and through his sin introduced death, It is through Christ—another perfect human—and his sacrifice that brought restoration to humanity’s position with God. If we unite with Christ, his perfection and sacrifice become ours.

It is in and through that young baby that we are saved.

This is no cute newborn, the sort our wives and mothers want to hold and giggle with each-other over (but no doubt mary and her friends did). This baby is the eternal, divine, infinite, unknowable, unchangeable, immutable, all-powerful, all-knowing God suddenly having stripped himself of all these qualities which separate us from Him.

He shed his otherness so that we could catch a glimpse of who our creator really is and understand his heart by interacting, talking, and touching our God.

To us a child is born. A child who created us and to whom all reverence, awe, and devotion belongs.

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  • cory

    I really doubt they put Jesus in a feeding trough. And we weren't saved by a baby, we were saved by the man Jesus. Much of what we have been taught about the Christmas story is pure fiction and now it has become a non-Christian holiday as it orginally started before Constantine tryed to make a day for us Christians. There is nothing wrong with that but I think we should get the story right at minimum. What are your children supposed to think if you make up stories about santa, won't they then think Jesus is equally fictional later? I watched the Glee Christmas story and they made Santa into God really, it was stupid and gratuitous but at least they didn't make Jesus and Santa equals, they just left Jesus out.

  • Jonathandkeck

    Thanks for your thoughts Cory. Luke 2:1-7 describes how Jesus was born and placed in a manger. A manger is actually a common cattle trough. Animals were usually kept in caves but some were kept in stables made of wood. These are not legends unless of course we call the scriptural account into question. In that case, the discussion becomes something else—about the nature of scripture, inerrancy, and historicity.

    The issue of December 25 is absolutely a old germanic holiday. The Christ Mass was moved from summer to the winter solstice by Pope Gregory the Great in the 6th century, long after Emperor Constantine.

    Now we are saved by the sacrifice of Christ, but not just as the man Jesus on the cross. The whole image is that the eternal God came, took human form for the very reason to die that we might live. We tend to want to separate baby Jesus from the grown man—but Christ was just as much divine and the source of human salvation at birth as he was an older man.

    Merry Christmas and thanks for reading!

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