I love Christmas Eve. In fact, I think I enjoy Christmas Eve more than Christmas day. I spend a lot of time on Christmas Eve before the rush of family reflecting on the reason for Christmas.
Today, I got to thinking about the contrasts that existed on that first Christmas when Jesus was born. A few things stand out as powerful contrasts in the Christmas narrative.
- The purest of all was born in a dirty stable. Imagine how disgusting that stable was. The innkeeper had to be so busy with the travelers that he had little time to take care of the animals. If each family parked their donkey in there, there had to be a lot of animals in there. And if the animals had been walking along the dusty roads, imagine how dirty they had been. But in that filth, pure baby Jesus was born.
- The most powerful was made powerless. I can’t think of many things more helpless than a newborn baby. But God Almighty became the most powerless creature in the world.
- The one who owns everything now had nothing. According to the Biblical account, Mary and Joseph were a poor family. Newlyweds are almost always poor, but they had their baby with nothing.
- The one who sustains everything couldn’t even hold his head up. The hand of Jesus sustains everything, but a little baby is so helpless, powerless, and weak that he can’t even hold up his head. Babies don’t even control their own body, let alone the universe.
- The independent, self existing One now was dependent on others. The “I Am” who depends on nothing was now dependent on human hands to feed Him, change his diapers, and care for Him for everything.
- The Creator became creation. Jesus, who was there in the beginning and participated in creation, was now part of that creation.
- The light of the world came into the darkness. The world was a dark place. The people of Israel had gone a long time without hearing from God. And in walked the Light of the World.
- Deity became humanity. The one and only God who created and ruled everything became finite. Jesus put away equality with God and became like us, with all the problems that being human brings with it.
- The author and giver of life became vulnerable to death. And He was killed 33 years later. But, of course, God raised Him up and exalted Him higher than all others.
These things will take me more than a lifetime or more to comprehend, but they are all things that I’m thinking about this Christmas. I hope you have a great Christmas, and I pray that these contrasts can draw you closer to the person of Jesus.
I’m contemplating Philippians 2:5-9 this Christmas and the contrasts that it brings.
(Image by c.a. muller on flickr)