“Completely unmanageable”

Wickle over at A True Believer’s Blog offers a profound view of why Christmas is, often times, a holiday we prefer over Easter.

My pastor speculated that it’s because it’s really easy to deal with the baby in the manger. There He is, being born, there are shepherds around because God loves poor people, there are angels because it’s a big deal, and magi because they’re there to celebrate. Great. We can deal with this.

Once you take that baby and make Him into a man, He becomes harder to handle. He said things, He did things, and He called us to be changed. Then, He died and came back out of the tomb.

God out of the tomb is completely unmanageable. We can’t hold that one back, limit Him, or try to pretend that it’s just a nice story. The Nativity can be trivialized and tamed – the Resurrection can’t.

There is talk about how to “keep Christ is Christmas,” or whether Christians should observe Christmas at all, and just about everything in between.

For my own part, I think that it’s fine to observe Christmas as a remembrance of the event. But while we’re at it, let’s remember that the Incarnation of God on earth wasn’t an end unto itself. He came to the earth to live, teach, die, and rise again. He didn’t stay in the manger.

That’s part of why I was so excited to see the second chorus of “What Child is This?” when I read it. Right there in the Christmas song, it reminded us that He came not to be born as a baby and stop there, but to be pierced with nails and a spear (among the other things that ripped His flesh that day). It wasn’t His birth that redeems us, it was His death.

Yes, by all means, celebrate the birth. The birth of Jesus is the beginning of the process that leads us to the death and resurrection, which is what makes it possible for any of us to have eternal life.

But let’s never forget that ours isn’t a God in a manger, He didn’t stay wrapped up in swaddling clothes, and He sure wasn’t a baby forever.

Regarding the second verse of “What Child Is This”, mentioned above, here it is:

Why lies He in such mean estate,

Where ox and ass are feeding?

Good Christians, fear, for sinners here

The silent Word is pleading.

Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,

The cross be borne for me, for you.

Hail, hail the Word made flesh,

The Babe, the Son of Mary.

Praise Him for His incarnation!

The Incarnation

The Incarnation, by Denise Day Spencer:

He stands,

poised on the brink of two worlds:

One, land of eternal day,

the other, earth of mire and clay.

Behind Him,

legions of heavenly host,

bright faces covered, praising,

all chanting, voices raising.

Before Him,

chaos yawning, swift and deep,

known, yet unknown. Fear unfurling,

death and darkness churning, swirling.

He turns.

One last look at golden glory.

The Three part; He is now One.

The Father’s voice says, “Go well, my Son.”

He leaps

into the abyss.

His next memory will be a Mother’s kiss.

~ Denise Day Spencer, January 1999

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Grateful hat tip and Christmas Blessings to the Internet Monk.

“Without Jesus, Christmas is an empty shell”

An excellent reminder from Sherry:

Without Jesus, Christmas is an empty shell, not much to celebrate. Some of us can keep the shell game going for a long time; some even choose the empty shells instead of working to hang onto the real thing. But Christmas is about Christ, even if he wasn’t really born in December, even if you have questions and doubts, even if you’re messy or suffering or full of fear and even depression.

You can celebrate an empty Christmas and try to fill it yourself with material things and friends and family and whatever else happens to come along, but eventually, one Christmas, I predict that you’ll come up with a hollow place right at the center of your Christmas, right at the center of your life. And the only one who can fill that hole is Jesus Himself, the Word made Flesh who came to live among us full of grace and truth. If you don’t believe in that Truth, if you’re not sure Jesus really came to save sinners, then it’s worth your time and energy and material wealth to go on a search to find out if it might, possibly, maybe, under any circumstances be true after all.

On this Christmas Eve, I wish you a full Christmas, full of grace and truth, full of Jesus. Because He’s what Christmas is all about.



“The God of power, as he did ride”

The God of power, as he did ride

In his majestick robes of glorie

Resolv’d to light; and so one day

He did descend, undressing all the way.

– George Herbert

(as quoted in Philip Yancey’s excellent The Jesus I Never Knew)

I hope your Christmas season has been glorious so far. I pray each of us will be humbled and amazed by the amazing humility that our Lord took upon himself in the Incarnation.

I will be writing more in coming days. I’ve been so busy, but it’s been a good busy.

Merry Christmas!