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    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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The Christmas Child And God

False-color image of the Pistol Star and Pisto...

The Pistol Star

From the desk of Pastor Coty Pinckney:

Now it came about in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. 2 This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all were proceeding to register for the census, everyone to his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, 5 in order to register, along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. 6 And it came about that while they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her first-born son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:1-7 NASB)

Look at verse 7: “She gave birth.” Mary, a young girl, a virgin, a woman who had never had sexual relations with a man, gave birth. . . .

The point of all this? Jesus was a baby – a normal baby, born in the normal way. Jesus was really human. Jesus was a baby who soiled himself, spit up, cried when He was hungry; He was completely dependent upon his parents for meeting His every need. He could do nothing for himself. With His little hands, he grasped fingers held out to Him. He couldn’t communicate at first except by crying. He took months to learn to crawl, and more months to learn to walk, and to speak. Jesus was a normal, human baby.

Jesus was born to a poor family in especially difficult circumstances. While I am sure Mary and Joseph did their best to make their newborn comfortable, safe, and clean, no stable is a sanitary place. How far were they from water? How did they clean Him up after the birth? What did that manger look like – that manger that for years had been the repository of grass and hay falling out of the mouths of cows?

Jesus was born with the appearance of illegitimacy. Few believed Mary’s story of the angel Gabriel; surely most of those who saw her pregnant assumed she became that way through the normal process. Indeed, this stigma of illegitimacy followed Jesus all his life; the Pharisees allude to it in John chapter 8.

Such was the baby Jesus. Fully human. A humble baby from a poor family. In most eyes, illegitimate.

But the Bible tells us that Jesus was much more than a human baby. That normal human body contained the Creator of the world.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. (John 1)

John here purposefully echoes the first words in the Bible, in the book of Genesis: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” John 1:1 actually takes us back before Genesis 1:1, before creation – telling us that the Word already was, the Word was with God, the Word was God. But who is “the Word”? What does John mean by this expression?

John makes this perfectly clear in verse 14:

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

The Word is Jesus. Jesus was God. Jesus was with God in the beginning. Now take a deep breath, and think about this as if you had never heard this concept before. That little baby, that child unable to take care of Himself, was God Himself. . . .

So Jesus is God incarnate. But there is more! John tells us that this same Jesus, this same one clothed with humanity, is the creator of everything! “Apart from Him, nothing came into being,” or as it reads in the NIV, “Without Him, nothing was made.”

Let me tell you about just one of the stars He made. The Pistol Star, near the center of our galaxy, emits in 6 seconds as much energy as our sun emits in a year. Its mass is more than 100 times that of our sun. Its diameter is about 200 million miles – in other words, if positioned at the center of our sun, the Pistol Star would more than fill our earth’s entire orbit.

Do you see? Do you comprehend? Oh! I want you to see the tremendous truth of the incarnation! We get so used to the words “Immanuel, God with us, God incarnate, God in the flesh” they role off our lips and we don’t begin to fathom what they mean. Think, now think! The One who made the Pistol Star became infinitesimal compared to it. The One who had all glory and power and purity and praise became despised, poor, needy, helpless; the One who was before the world began became – a tiny, seemingly insignificant speck in that world.

Jesus the Baby is also Jesus the Creator of all things. (“What Child is This?”)

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