by Pastor Jeff Bucknam, Contributor
Christmas is a bizarre holiday. That hasn’t changed the fact that it stands out as my favourite during the entire year.
Thanksgiving is great, and the fireworks on Canada Day are pretty spectacular, but there’s nothing that really compares to Christmas.Presents, lights, trees in our homes (a tradition I still struggle to understand), and a smile on most faces. The world always seems a bit happier during December. People seem a bit kinder. No wonder they call it the most wonderful time of the year.
But, all of this doesn’t change how bizarre Christmas is. I know it’s popular today to remove most of the historical and religious significance from our public holidays, but Christmas really can’t be understood without these. The Bible describes Christmas as the day when, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” It was the day when God sent His Son to become a baby, born to an insignificant woman, witnessed to by insignificant shepherds living in an insignificant land. The almighty, transcendent, inapproachably brilliant, and holy God became a baby who was laid in a feed trough next to horse manure. Bizarre.
Of course, it is more than bizarre. It is puzzling. Why would God go that kind of distance? You can usually tell how difficult a problem is by the grandeur of the solution (at least that’s the only thing I remember from calculus class). So, how great must the problem be if the solution required God to lower himself to the point where he slept his first night on earth amidst the aroma of sheep?
The answer is found in the songs that we can’t wait to sing every year…
“Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn king.”
The magnificent God took on human flesh in order that through his perfect life he might become a sacrifice to God on our behalf. He lived the life we should have lived, and he died the death we deserved to die, suffering the punishment for sins that were not his own. The king of the universe has, at infinite cost to himself, granted us a way to be saved from the just consequences of our rebellion. All that is left to do is receive the amnesty he offers.
Bizarre indeed. But it is the way we see the brilliance of the newborn King.