Tuesday, December 25, 2007

God Born of Woman; Man Born of God

The Nativity of Our Lord
Christmas Day
Sunday, December 25, 2007
John 1:1-18

Usually the best way to tell someone something amazing is to tell them the thing. And if it is indeed amazing, then they’ll be amazed. They’ll probably say themselves that it’s amazing. You don’t even need to tell them that it’s amazing, you can just tell them the thing.

Have you ever noticed how you can hear the Scriptures and not be amazed? True enough, there are things in there that are pretty straightforward. But there’s also some amazing things in there that sometimes go right past us.

Today’s Gospel reading is one such passage. It’s amazing. Okay, now that I’ve done what I said is generally not the best way to do it, let me say again, that what John the apostle says about Christ is amazing. In fact, what he says about us is amazing.

God is born of a woman. Born of flesh. Why? So that we could be born of God. We were born of flesh but because Jesus, God, was born of flesh we may be born of God.

Maybe that’s why John goes on to say that we have received grace upon grace. Maybe that’s why he says that grace and truth have come through Jesus Christ. Maybe that’s he why stops short of saying, Let me tell you something amazing and he just goes ahead and tells us the thing.

In the beginning was the Word. And you know what, or rather, who, that Word was? Christ. The Word made flesh. The One in whom and through whom all things came into being. Because the Word is God. Jesus Christ, the eternal God became flesh. Born of a woman. Born under the Law. Born into the confines of this world that is inhabited by mosquitoes and roaches. By pain and suffering. Hunger and thirst. Sin and temptation. He is God. He was born into that.

We were born into it. We don’t know what it’s like to live apart from the frustrations, the aggravations, the things that make us say, Why does it have to be this way? Why do we have to deal with bugs and pain and sin and sorrow? Why do we have to be under the Law? Jesus didn’t, but He chose it. He chose it so that we could have a new birth. A birth in which we are born not of flesh but of God.

Look back two thousand years ago and see that little baby all gooey and purple from just coming out of His mother’s womb. When you do, you will see an amazing thing—you being born of God. That’s why He came. That’s why He went through all that He did. That’s why He chose to become flesh. To be born of a woman. To suffer. To die. To take upon Himself every sin. The sin of the world. The burdens. The guilt. The pain. The sorrow. The questions.

What is amazing is that we miss this. That it goes right past us is sad. It’s pathetic. We shouldn’t have to be told that it’s amazing. But here we are. In the flesh. Sinful. Curved in on ourselves. Always looking around the corner for something exciting; something amazing.

When all we have to do is look at that little baby. The Word made flesh. Born of a woman so that we could be born of God. All we have to do is see in Him that the blood and goo that clung to Him as He came out of Mary’s womb was but a brief glimpse of what He would ultimately do. For He was born of woman so that He could die at the hands of men. And if we are in any doubt as to who really killed Jesus we should be very clear that it was us. Every sinner. Every person who has breathed on this planet took His life.

Amazing then that we are born of God. Born anew because He was born of flesh and died in our place. It’s really amazing that there’s so much talk during Christmas about peace and love and joy and that it’s so often separated from the simple yet profound circumstances of Jesus’ birth. And the reason for His birth. It’s wonderful that He was born!, there’s no doubt. Is it so wonderful why? Do people like to hear talk of the brutality of the cross, the blood and sweat that clung to Him in His crucifixion? None of that sounds very peaceful or joyful.

Ever amazing, though, that’s exactly why Jesus born. Born to die. Born so that we may be born again, born of God. If we think that we should put a damper on Christmas spirit, well, that’s the farthest thing from the truth. That would be the most amazingly ridiculous thing to do. We rejoice in the true peace, love, and joy of Christmas, because we know that His birth means our birth. His death means our life. His resurrection means our eternal celebration. He born of woman so that we may be born of God. Amen!


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