Monday, December 21, 2009
The Incarnation--God With An Umbilical Cord
How many kings, stepped down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
How many Gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that has torn all apart?
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?
Only one did that for me
--Lyrics from "How Many Kings" by Downhere
I've been hearing this song on the radio this week. It always brings tears to my eyes. It makes me see...Jesus, taking off His royal robes, allowing Himself to become an embryo, growing inside a young girl. Jesus, limiting Himself for us. Can we ever know what that was like? Not completely. But if we can, for a moment, forget the herald angels singing, forget warm visions of friendly animals in a spotless barn, forget the unusualness of Christ's birth...then perhaps we can really see. A little anyway. See how human Christ became--how He humbled Himself.
Luke says it so delicately: "While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son." (Luke 2:6-7)
We are tempted to think sterile thoughts--Christ wrapped in snow-white blankets and in a cozy manger. Our minds recoil from the truth--that the King of Glory was born in a gush of blood and amniotic fluid to an groaning, exhausted, terrified teenager. In a barn. Over straw and manure. We don't want to remember that He did that, went that far for us. Isn't that a bit too much, Lord?
But we must remember. We must not tidy up Jesus' birth. We must always remember His sacrifice--the shadow of the cross over the manger.
"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death--even death on a cross!" (Philippians 2:5-8)