Pastor's Blog

Not Just A Cute Baby In A Manger

Tis the season to be…..thinking about the Incarnation. We Christians are rightfully consternated by the commercialization of Christmas and are saddened by people not getting the reason for the season. We can take only so much of “Happy Holidays” replacing “Merry Christmas” and fat men in red suits instead of nativities with a cute baby before protesting: “Christmas isn’t about all those things.” It is about a baby called Jesus being born. Yes! Well, no! Christmas isn’t just about a baby being born called Jesus. Christmas is about something truly more remarkable about that birth. The remarkable thing isn’t just that the poor mother was a virgin or was far from home and could find only one place to give birth—a cave-barn. It wasn’t that the baby was laid in a feeding trough and lullabied by lowing of cattle or soft baaing of sheep. The remarkable thing was that baby was God birthed as humanity. We call this the incarnation, literally, “in the flesh.” The wonders of the incarnation are not just in its nature but also in its purpose. It wasn’t just that Jesus was God, but that He was born to reveal God. Before I fell asleep last night, an analogy made this so very real to me: A genius can have the greatest of thoughts--a breakthrough idea, a brilliant enlightenment, a revolutionary epiphany. But, that idea will remain unknown to the world unless he expresses that thought in words. But, words can only be known when expressed in some type of physical medium. He can speak the words. That takes physical air vibrating physical vocal chords passing through and shaped by physical mouth and tongue. Or, it takes a hand holding a pencil leaving physical graphite on paper. Or, it takes pressing physical keys and creating fonts of pixels that can be seen on a screen or printed on a page. The unseen thought can only be known when transposed into some type of physical medium even if it is only an expression or a gesture. With the limitation of our finite humanity, we cannot know another’s thought in any other way. God is such that we could never know Him unless He is expressed in a physical medium that we can see, hear, feel, handle. In the OT that was words in stone, fire, the voice of prophets, a cloud of glory. But, as a written letter communicates more fully than a smoke signal, the NT introduces a physical means of communicating God far beyond fire, a glory cloud, words in stone, or a voice of a prophet. The means was the human person of Jesus Christ. “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” (What I am about to state is not in reference to the theological meaning of “the Word,” the logos, but only an analogy of it.) God had a “Word,” and He expressed it in the physical medium of the humanity of Christ. When grown, Jesus acknowledged this declaring, “He that has seen me has seen the Father.” The Apostle John noted the physicality of that Word, but saying, “That which was from the beginning, we have seen, we have heard, we have handled.” John was noting, “We get who God is because He was expressed in a physical medium so we could.” This is what Christmas is all about. God came to us in a medium by which we could know His mind, hear His words, know His way. However unworthy, convoluted, unclear, valueless the thought I had last night was, you could have never known it had I not physically typed it out so it could be in a medium you could physically read. Likewise, we could have never known God had not the Word who was God became physical humanity. Of course, there is one more thing: I can write my thought , yet, you not read it and, thus, never know it. And the Word can come in the flesh, and one not “read it” and never know God. That wasn’t just a baby in the manger. That was God’s Word to us. (And this was just one of the wonders of the incarnation.)

-Pastor Clifford Hurst

December 3, 2017