There is something mysterious about the Christmas season. Yes – there’s the lights and the presents, the songs and the smells. But the greatest mystery of Christmas is called “the hypostatic union” – the union of the divine with human flesh.
Every year, I find that there are Christians from days gone by who have sat and pondered this mystery deeply and put it into words more eloquently than I ever could. Just consider these examples:
“When I am told that God became man, I can follow the idea, but I do not understand what it means. For what man, if left to his natural promptings, if he were God, would humble himself to lie in the feedbox of a donkey or to hang upon a cross?” (Martin Luther)
“Infinite, and an infant – eternal, and yet born of a woman – Almighty, and yet hanging on a woman’s breast – supporting the universe, yet needing to be carried in a mother’s arms – King of angels, and yet the reputed son of Joseph – heir of all things and yet the carpenter’s despised son.” (Charles Spurgeon)
“Man’s Maker was made man, that He, Ruler of the stars, might nurse at His mother’s breasts; that the Bread might be hungry, the Fountain thirst, the Light sleep, the Way be tired from the journey; that the Truth might be accused by false witnesses, the Judge of the living and the dead be judged by a mortal judge, Justice be sentenced by the unjust, the Teacher be beaten with whips, the Vine be crowned with thorns, the Foundation be suspended on wood; that Strength might be made weak, that He who makes well might be wounded, that Life might die. He was made man to suffer these and similar undeserved things for us, that He might free us who were undeserving; and He who on account of us endured such great evils, merited no evil, while we who through Him were so bountifully blessed, had no merits to show for such blessings. Therefore, because of all this, He who before all ages and without a beginning determined by days was the Son of God, saw fit in these latter days to be the Son of man; and He, who was born of the Father but not made by the Father, was made in the mother whom He had made, that He might sometime be born here on earth of her who could never have been anywhere except through Him.” (Augustine)
Here is the wonder of it all – God ruled the universe and fed himself. He kept the stars in place while having their light shine upon him. He fed the angels who watched over him. He guided the wise men who came to him as a child.
This is the greatest mystery – God and humanity reconciled by the God-man. If you ever wondered if God could love you, remember that the incarnation – Christ’s birth – is proof that God has not rejected us and his creation in totality, but has come to redeem us and rescue us and love us.
And when you look at the one who lies in the manger, what you discover is ordinary, humble glory that brings good news is more than you could imagine or comprehend.