With Christmas only a few days away I was reflecting this past week on the astonishing incarnation of Jesus and its meaning for this season.
The Splendor of Heaven
Heaven as described throughout the Bible seems like an incredibly inviting place. Consider these scripture verses describing heaven in its various forms:
Rev. 21:11: The New Jerusalem: “It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.”
Rev. 22:1-5: “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.”
Rev. 21:4: “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
1 Cor. 2:9: “No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”
The book of Revelation uses words such as: holy, brilliance, light, love, gold, crystal, joy, worship, glory and so forth to describe the unconceivable beauty and splendor of heaven. It sounds like quite a place!
The Power of the Incarnation
This week we celebrate a God who chose to leave that place (heaven) and all of its splendor, to enter this place; earth. A place filled with corruption, hurt, affliction, sorrow, death and decay. Do we realize that Christ willingly allowed himself to become a victim of gross injustice, temptations and pain for our eternity? He came to bare the awful darkness of sin on his innocent person.
Jesus left the comforts and safe immunity of heaven to enter into our suffering, alienation and idolatry. He emptied himself of his glory and became vulnerable and weak as a baby to serve us. That’s what happened on Christmas.
He came to proclaim to us the incredible, incomprehensible love of the father. Jesus showed through word and deed that he came to serve, not to be served, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45)
The incarnation of Christ not only gives us an incredible example of missional living, but it gives us reason to pause in reflection this Christmas. While Christmas should be a time of celebration, it should also be a time of humble worship and inspiration. God willingly sent his son Jesus from the perfection of heaven to the sinful earth out of love for his creation. It’s beyond what our minds can totally understand but not beyond what our faith can accept.
God’s love for you and me is not comprehendible. It’s a radical never ceasing, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love. That is what this season celebrates. That is why Christmas is the most wonderful and yet awe-inspiring time of year.
God Bless you and your family this Christmas!Image courtesy of Joe Buckingham / Flickr