Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Why God Was Born

The Nativity of Our Lord
Christmas Day
December 25, 2012
In the Nicene Creed we declare that the Son of God was begotten, not made. Jesus is true God. He is eternal. He has never had a beginning. He was not created, He is the Creator.

When we think of Christmas we think of Jesus being born. We think of God coming to earth as a man, and that by being born as a baby.

But we usually don’t think in terms of God being born. Jesus was born. But God? How could God be born when God had no beginning; when He’s eternal? We all have been born. We’re not eternal. We all have had a beginning.

Jesus was born in the same we were. But He was begotten, not made. He was conceived, hanging out in Mary’s womb for nine months, and born—and yet was God through it all. God was born.

In the Gospel reading for Christmas Day the apostle John, inspired by the Holy Spirit, makes no attempt to explain this. Simply to declare it. In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. The Word was God; the Word became flesh. The eternal God was born.

God did not tell us this with a need to explain it to us. He has no compulsion to tell us how. But He delights in telling us why. Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, and the Creed goes on to tell us why: He suffered, died, and was buried.

God was born in order to die. God became a man to deliver man. God who has no beginning entered the creation He brought into being. God was born.

And something we really can’t wrap our minds around, God died. This is why He came, why He was born at Christmas. In order to go to Jerusalem, where there was a cross. He was born in order to die.

And even as God has no beginning, He also has no end. He is eternal. So how could it be that on the cross God died? We say and hear all the time that Jesus died on the cross. Jesus is God and He is man. He was nailed to a cross and He died. His life was snuffed out of Him.

But if it is hard to grasp that God was born, how much harder that God died? When we deal with the things of God, the things He has given us in His Word, we are always a step away from going against what He has given us to believe. To believe that God was born could easily lead you into the error that God had a beginning. That Jesus is not true God.

That’s why we must not seek out how to understand it but simply rejoice in it. Jesus is God and He was born. Think in terms of how Mary and Joseph saw it on that night Mary gave birth to Jesus. Undoubtedly they knew that He was no ordinary boy. That they didn’t fully understand exactly what it meant that He was no ordinary boy is safe to assume.

But the point here is that Mary’s Son was born. She and Joseph were not marveling that God was born. But they were marveling at God’s grace. They were rejoicing in new life and that they were privileged to be part of it. Later on that night after a visit from some shepherds who told them amazing things about just who this little baby was, Mary pondered all these things in her heart.

Not long after that she would learn from Simeon that He would be pierced and no doubt Mary pondered long and hard about her child given to her from God.

God was born and Mary was one recipient of the grace that came about through this birth from her very own womb. As she many years later would stand and watch her Son give His life on the cross she would witness the very reason her Son was born. She would eventually come to see that her Son was the very Son of God, as the Gospel reading says, “The only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

This is where what John has told us in the Gospel reading is so valuable. Mary and Joseph didn’t need to understand everything as it was unfolding. As it unfolded they saw more and more who Jesus was, how God had come in the flesh. We look back now upon the birth, upon the suffering, upon the death, upon the resurrection of Jesus, and we see more and more who He is, why He was born, why He did all of that.

And we fill our lives up with that, because that’s what our lives will be filled up with for eternity. God will be there. In fact, God, in the flesh, will be there. Jesus, the one who is true God and true man, will be there, in the flesh. Full of grace and truth. The one who is eternal and who was born. The one who died and the one who rose. The one who did all of this for you.

Which brings us to one more thing on Christmas Day. On this day we obviously celebrate the birth of Christ. But even as we marvel that God was born; and as we rejoice in why, that God the Son died on the cross for all our sins; that’s not all. On Christmas Day we celebrate something else as well. We celebrate another birth. This is the birth that was brought about through God being born. As the Gospel reading says, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”

Why was God born? So that you could be born. The Creator, the one who brought you into existence, is your Savior, the one who gives you new birth. God, who is a spiritual being, became flesh, so that you who are flesh could be born of God.

And even though you had a beginning, you will have no end. You will live eternally because you have been born of God. You have been brought into the life of God through the amazing events of God being born, living, dying, and rising, all for you, all for your eternal life. Amen.


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