While talking amongst my D-Group last week, we began to discuss the power of Jesus. Both fully man and fully God. The discussion was centered around the passage where the devil tries to tempt Jesus in the wilderness. We began to talk about the mystery of our Lord. You see, our Savior is both fully man, Jesus, and fully God, Christ our Lord. There in the wilderness He faced every temptation, including having the power to fulfill each and every one.
Place me in a dessert and I wouldn’t even know where to start to get food. Meanwhile, Christ had the power to command anything for Himself and didn’t. I think we can even consider this temptation when Christ is praying in the garden of Gethsemane. I wonder if He prayed for the strength to hold back His power while being crucified. I would think the temptation was certainly there, even one of the criminals crucified with Him said He could step off of that cross (Luke 23:39). And those watching claimed He could save Himself (Luke 23:35). He certainly could, but He didn’t.
At Christmas time we celebrate Immanuel—God with us.
If you have ever studied the Tabernacle, you will know that God’s plan since Eden has been to dwell with us. Prophecies and proclamations of Christ’s coming are woven all throughout the Old Testament, so you would think that when the Savior of the world arrived on this earth it would be with great pomp and circumstance.
But it wasn’t. It was simple.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. –Luke 2: 4-7
A virgin gave birth to a son, in the town of Bethlehem, in the city of David. She used what was available and wrapped Him in cloths and placed Him in a manger. Perhaps Mary had been expecting something so different for the birth of the Messiah. She probably hadn’t planned to have Him in a barn, but God did.
And why is that? Only the Word has those answers.
There is a theme when it comes to interactions with the Lord. All throughout the Gospels there are meetings with Christ that are personal and intimate. They are moments of such power that it cannot be explained away by mere circumstance or coincidence. It’s Christ looking, touching, reaching out, lifting up, healing with His hands, making eye contact with, talking with, explaining the Scriptures too, feeding, teaching, hugging, and weeping with His people. It’s Christ. Fully man and fully God—Immanuel.
From Eden, to Egypt, to the wilderness, to the manger, to the cross, it was all meant for us to be with Him. This Christmas, take time to wonder at the glorious design of Christ being born in a stable. Meditate on the beauty of the humility He shows and the wonder of His intimate connection with our own humanity.
His being born in a stable was not a mistake. It was the perfect design of the Lord who desires to dwell with us. To dwell with you—and by His mighty power to reconcile us to Himself in order that we may dwell with Him in glory forever. And if that isn’t the pure light of true love, I don’t know what is.
So this year when I stand during the Christmas Eve service, holding a candle lit with a burning flame I will sing “Silent Night. ” And during that song I will ponder the wondrous design of God choosing to dwell with His people. Choosing to be born onto this earth to save us from the claws of death.
Love’s pure light indeed!
Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of Redeeming grace
Jesus Lord at Thy birth
Jesus Lord at Thy birth
(Silent Night/ words by Joseph Mohr; music by Franz Gruber)