Emmanuel: Christmas Reflections

An Unexpected King and an Upside Down Kingdom:

We read in John's prologue that Jesus came to the world that He made, and that world didn't want Him. Jesus' life is framed by a birth in a feeding trough, and a death by public execution. Hardly the way a king should enter the world, or leave it. Of course His birth was announced by battalions of angels, but they sang only to shepherds; and He did rise and then ascend, but only a few women and fishermen were witness...

God's power and glory look very different than we might imagine. This is Emmanuel, God with us; and it isn't what we could have thought up for ourselves. In fact, it turns out that our notions of the gods are almost stood on their heads when the real God actually does show up.

Becoming One of Us:

Jesus, the Second Adam, is not merely God among us, but God become one of us. Fully God, and fully man.

Colossians 1:15-20 gives us a picture of a Cosmic Savior, a fully divine being, and an exact representation of God. Hebrews 2:14-18 paints a picture of the perfect human, a flesh-and-blood savior, and a perfect image of humanity as it should be. Hebrews 4:14-16 goes on to explain the significance of Jesus nature. Because He is a perfect representative of heaven, and of humanity, He gives us access to the throne of grace.

Christmas is Jesus bridging heaven and earth. I would turn to my Kenyan friend Dus to prepare for a trip to Kenya, or to my Rwandan friend David for information about Rwandan culture, precisely because they live here, but came from there. I can turn to Jesus to find access to God's Kingdom, precisely because in his very person He has brought heaven to earth.

Affirming our Humanity in Order to Heal It:

The leper approaches, even though he knows he shouldn't. He is banished from human contact, yet desperate hope propels him forward, "If you are willing, you can heal me!" Jesus doesn't heal him.

He touches him!

It is not until after Jesus affirms this man's humanity, proclaims his dignity and worth as a son of Adam, that Jesus speaks the word of healing that ends leprosy. First, Jesus chose to deal with the spiritual leprosy of alienation and humiliation.

Emmanuel is God touching us in the exact places where we have surrendered to sin's dehumanizing effects. He places His hands on us, not on the clean parts, but on the wounds, the ugliness, the blood and puss, the stench, the filth... It is only after He proclaims us loved and cherished by the Father that He then restores us. Christmas is God with dirty feet, stained clothes, bloody head, and pierced palms; entering our world fully.

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