Christmas is a time when Christians gather to celebrate the joyous occasion of our Saviour’s birth. Christmas is also a time when we are reminded of God’s condescension in saving us a sinful and unworthy people through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Our Lord is “the mighty God” (Isa. 9: 6). The second Person of the Holy Trinity, He is the eternal God: “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God” (Ps. 90: 2). He is also the Creator and Sustainer of all things; He upholds all His creatures and creations “by the word of his power” (Heb. 1: 3). As the Son of God, co-equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit, Christ reigns as the Sovereign Ruler over all mankind.
Brethren, do we ever wonder why the Almighty God gave up the glories of Heaven to be “made in the likeness of men” (Philp. 2: 7)? The answer is found in John 3: 16-17: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved”.
“Astonishing mystery! that the Creator of the world should become a creature, lodged in a stable, and cradled in a manger!” (William Burkitt’s Expository Notes). Because of God’s love for lost sinners, Christ had to take on human flesh in order to fulfil His plan of salvation. Though He is the Almighty God, our Saviour condescended to live amongst sinful man on earth.
Born in a lowly manger, He grew up in a humble carpenter’s home. Christ told those who wanted to follow Him that He had nowhere to lay His head: “And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” (Matt. 8: 20). But the lowest step of His humiliation was His death on the cross: “… But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philp. 2: 7-8).
As “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (Jn. 1: 29), the Lord Jesus Christ gave up His life to save us from our sins. Thank God for His glorious redemption accomplished by our Saviour on Calvary’s cross.
Many do not understand how such an infinite God can take on the form of a finite creature. Thus, they totally reject this glorious truth. One writer puts it aptly: “Rejection does not mean that this great event does not take place. The conception and birth of Christ the Son must remain a mystery that defies all human reasoning, because human minds simply lack the ability to understand it.” God’s Word states that this is a great mystery: “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (I Tim. 3: 16).
In one of their tracts, Evangelical Tract Distributor gives this illustration of Christ’s condescension: “It is evident that we must identify with the people we serve. We have seen on TV, the tribal lives of certain undeveloped regions of the world. We feel for the people there. We wish to express our love to them, and to go into their midst to help them. But we can do so only if we are fully identified with them – to live the way they live in every aspect of life; to conform to their customs and traditions, however uncivilised they may be. We may be required to give up our citizenship to labour among them as a citizen of their country for life. We may not be able to return to our native land. Is there anyone among us who is willing to go on these terms? No, not one. But Jesus was willing. He set aside His heavenly glory, and dwelt amongst men. He came into the world to be our Saviour, to deliver us from our sins” (Adapted).
Our Saviour’s condescension is a mystery. As finite beings, we cannot fully understand it. But we thank God for the lowly Babe of Bethlehem Who came that we might have life, and that we might have it more abundantly (Jn. 10: 10). It is our privilege and honour to experience His saving grace, and to enjoy the blessings of sonship. May we respond with a heart of love and devotion toward our blessed Saviour. May we learn from His example of condescension, and deal graciously with our fellowmen.
Wishing all a Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!