Hebrews 5:2-5, 8-10
2 He is able to deal compassionately with those who are ignorant and erring, since he also is subject to weakness. 3 And for this reason he is obligated to make sin offerings for himself as well as for the people. 4 And no one assumes this honor on his own initiative, but only when called to it by God, as in fact Aaron was. 5 So also Christ did not glorify himself in becoming high priest, but the One who glorified him was God, who said to him, “You are my son! Today I have fathered you.” 8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience through the things he suffered. 9 And being perfected in this way, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him. 10 And he was designated by God as high priest in the order of Melchizedek.”
Babies have a way of softening the toughest heart. We are captivated by their helpless needfulness and beauty. Okay, some babies might be more attractive than others, but we still marvel at how amazingly they were made. How much more to be a witness of God incarnate, swaddled in rags, held by humans.
Babies are born in a fallen world but have not yet had the opportunity to choose sin. Christ was born in the flesh but was fully God and never chose to sin. Perfect in every way, yet treated as a criminal. King above all kings, yet He chose to be a servant. Honored, yet He chose dishonor. Glorified, yet He did not choose glory, but chose humility instead. He is One who can identify with our weaknesses, yet chose not to indulge the flesh. He is the only One Who is blameless, Who is able to pay for all of the sins of humanity. This gift is extraordinary and unlike any other – yet it is completely free.
I am a bargain hunter by nature. With five kids at home, I need to be. It is a joyous moment when I am able to get a prized item for a deal, but if an expensive item were begin given away, I would wonder what was wrong with it. The value of human life, however, is not able to be determined – it is higher than money could afford. How much more, then, is God in the flesh as a baby worth? How astounding a gift, how immeasurable and lavish for God to give Himself – so humble and vulnerable – offering Himself to His own creation. A divine gift from Heaven to earth.
I imagine the peoples from the Old Testament all looking to the promised Christ, much like we look forward to Christmas today – only they had a deeper longing. Their eternal fate rested on this gift of God’s Son. We eagerly anticipate something special we have desired, but they desired their very soul’s salvation. Year after year they wondered when the prophecies would be fulfilled, and today we must guard against merely struggling for deals and just squeezing in moments to commemorate the meaning of Christmas. While complaints can be heard about not enough time for shopping, souls are starving to understand what this baby in a manger really means.
The motivation for His gift is unparalleled in all of time. He is the One who set the rules we violated. Enemies clothed in guilt and shame, He looked at us with compassion and love and chose to give instead of condemn. May that be our motivation, too. As we look toward Christmas, may we rejoice in this amazing gift and share gifts with others, but may we also not neglect to bow down before the King of kings. May we also awaken from our cookie-induced sugar comas and see the symbolism and intent behind many of the traditions we celebrate – His glory.
Thank You, LORD, for coming to earth to save us all! Thank you for Your wisdom and the greatest gift we could ever receive – Your Son. Help us to worship You each and every day, at Christmas and all year through!