One of the most staggering truths of Scripture is that God became an embryo. God traversed an unfathomable rift to enter our world to demonstrate the greatest truth of all: that He is a saving, loving, redeeming God. A great Christmas hymn verbalizes this truth: “Veiled in flesh the Godhead see/hail the incarnate Deity/pleased as Man with men to dwell/Jesus our Emmanuel” (Charles Wesley). It’s a scandalous, preposterous truth. It’s a tale meant to be told.
It was scandalous – I always thought that we don’t lend nearly enough of our imagination to the drama that happened between Joseph and Mary. Imagine as a man, knowing indisputably in your heart that you had not consummated your relationship with your intended spouse, only to be told, “I’m pregnant.” Imagine having to deal with the gossip and snide remarks of neighbors and relatives to the extent that it must have seemed a great mercy to leave home and make the arduous journey to Bethlehem, and later, briefly Egypt. Of course, an angel assuaged Joseph’s misgivings—a kindness that must have been absolutely necessary. But I think we tend to airbrush away the tabloid tawdry appearance this pregnancy caused.
It was preposterous – Preposterous is the textbook definition of a miracle. Miracles defy natural, rational explanation. What if your neighbor started declaring himself God-incarnate? It wouldn’t take much of that before psychological behavioral experts showed up. The Bible indicates that even Jesus’ own family found these claims extraordinary, to put it mildly: “When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, ‘He is out of his mind’” (Mark 3:21). The message of Christmas sounds ludicrous. And yet, it is at the very center of Christian Theology. The Gospel writers started out with this outlandish claim, "The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means God is with us)” (Matthew 1:23). God voluntarily emptied himself of His heavenly rights to become a human. Only by becoming a human could He rescue humans. He lived sinlessly to rescue sinners (2 Corinthians 5:21). He was born so that He could die in our place. He was resurrected to prove it worked!
It’s truth meant to be shared! Christmas is a scandalous, preposterous, miraculous truth. God gave us an indescribable gift. If this is true (and I am persuaded that it is), then this is the most needed message that we could relate to anyone. And yet, so often, I keep it to myself. My feelings of intimidation overwhelm my heart of compassion. My concern about being alienated from my neighbors if I share this Good News with them leaves them alienated from God. Fear flattens me out. “What is this? An article or a confession?” Yes. Pray with me, that God will help me find courage to share this Good News with more urgency and frequency, and I’ll do the same for you.