God and man


If you’ve read my previous two columns (“Getting Into the Christmas Spirit” and “The Incarnation”) you are perhaps aware, I am not celebrating the birth of Jesus so much this year as I have in the past.

It’s not that I do not like the nativity scenes, and wise men, and shepherds and sheep, and caroling angels and the guiding star and all; it’s just that I realized there is depth to the Christmas story I had been overlooking most of my life.  Of course, it starts with the birth of this baby, called Yeshua by his proud parents, but we know Him as Jesus.  From the start, some knew Jesus was the “Messiah” the Jews had been waiting for.  They had been waiting for centuries.  A privileged few were blessed to see the child shortly after His birth, and I wonder what they thought.


Let’s face it: babies are babies.  They are cute, they are little miracles, but mostly, they’re only just babies.  Certain shepherds, “watching their flocks by night”, were told by heralding angels to get over to Bethlehem, where they would find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes laying in a manger “who is Christ the Lord.”  Naturally, you do not argue with angels when a thing like this happens.  No, when this sort of thing happens, you get up and move!  And what did the shepherds find when they got to Bethlehem and the little stall Jesus was born in?

Well—just a baby.  He was cute enough, with His eyes closed, His hands and feet moving the way babies move them, and perhaps crying some.  There are those who’d emphatically protest that the infant Jesus did not cry, but think about it: if you had just left the glories of Heaven to come and suffer on our miserable planet, wouldn’t you cry?  I know I would.

So, in Bethlehem, these shepherds were just rough, smelly, hard-working young men who saw a baby.  This baby was the Messiah, or so they had been told.  They would take the angels’ word for it.  What they did not know was, this baby was God!

I like to think that for the shepherds, there was a reassuring truth, here.  They did not know the particulars of Mary and Joseph’s circumstances, but it was unusual that they were in Bethlehem on the whim of the Roman emperor who wanted a census taken.  As far as what it was like in the city, go to Walmart on Christmas Eve two hours before they close, and you’ll get a fairly accurate idea.  Then, this baby, so much like any other baby.  For the shepherds, it was strange and confusing, but GOD was in it!  I like to think this was the reassuring truth for the shepherds.  Though they did not realize the implications of everything that was going on, that really did not matter.  The simple fact that God was behind it was enough for them. 

This should be enough for all of us, but understand, seeing God is somewhat tricky.  It’s not like you would think.  At the Lord’s Supper, probably with some exasperation, the disciple Phillip said to Jesus, “Lord, show us the Father (i.e., God), and that will be enough for us.”

Jesus responded, “Have I not been with you so long, and yet you have not known me, Phillip?  He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?”

All this is in John’s Gospel, and worth reading.  The point is, Jesus was God, is God, and will always be God.  There is more to the story.  Christmas is not only the time we celebrate the birth of Jesus, it is also the time we celebrate the Incarnation of God, when “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”  In other words, God became Man, or for our politically confused times, God became Human in Jesus Christ.

Is your head spinning yet?  I think it was Alistar Begg who said there was never a time when Jesus was not God, but there was a time when Jesus was not Man.  But we will have to take this up again next week.

Incidentally, your thoughts and comments are appreciated.  Thank you for reading the HOL newsletter.

author avatar
Craig Hall
Publisher and owner of Heavener Ledger and leflorecountyjournal.com