When I was a young child, I was very quiet, but observant and analytical. And, apparently, I asked a lot of questions. My dad once told me he used to call me The Question Box and shared examples of what that looked like on one occasion (“Why is the moon round?”). I guess I had the question bug worse than most kids.
I remember asking how Santa could give gifts to families when there was no chimney or they had a big, mean watchdog. I never did believe in Santa.
I wondered if dinosaurs walked on the earth at the same time humans did (now I know there is evidence that they did).
And I was confused as to how a baby born at Christmas could grow up so quickly and be a man at Easter. It wasn’t until years later that I began to understand that the baby born in a stable so long ago took three decades to become an adult and die for our sins three years later. Now I have fewer questions, and more awe, at the miracle of the birth of Jesus Christ.
Truly, it was a miracle. The Eternal One, the Sovereign Lord God, the One Who created the universe and all that was in it—except for sin—squeezed Himself into the tiniest shell He possibly could and still call Himself God. He wrapped Himself with the skin of a wet, wrinkled, crying newborn baby.
That baby looked like any other Middle Eastern newborn baby. His parents were very poor and of nondescript appearance.
They raised this baby just like any poor Jewish family raised their children. Although the stories swirling around the unusual circumstances of His birth never completely faded away from the rumor mill, the Joseph ben Jacob family managed to live an ordinary life, blending into the obscurity of the community life of Nazareth until Jesus turned 30.
By the time Jesus launched His ministry, He knew what His supreme purpose on earth was. He knew He had to teach, but that wasn’t His primary purpose for existing in human form.
He knew He was to heal and perform miracles, but that wasn’t His primary purpose for existing, either.
He even knew He was to share His life intimately with His twelve disciples so that they could carry on His work after His death. But He knew that also was not His primary reason for existing.
He knew that, though He had lived a perfect and sinless life, He was to die for the sins of—take the punishment for—the human race; Mark 10:25 and John 12:24-27. Dying was His primary purpose for coming.
He knew He was going to resurrect Himself from the dead, but before He could resurrect, He had to die.
He was born to die for you and for me.
From the beginning, the only plan God ever had for saving our souls to heaven was for Jesus to be born from a virgin, live a perfect life, and die as the ultimate substitute for your sins and mine… to trade His perfect life for our dastardly sins… to cleanse and heal us with His perfect light and love and all the promises of eternity.
And we get extras like a new, resurrected body and living with God forever in our limited perfection.
It’s like God gave Christmas to send Easter.
It boggles my mind. Doesn’t it boggle yours?
You know, I never lost my penchant for asking questions. They’re a little more complicated now.
What vehicle should I get next time?
When are you going to remove my enemies for good?
Is anyone ever going to pay me to write?
Is it in Your perfect will for me to marry?
Will next year be the year I actually, finally, make it overseas to the country You called me to, so long ago?
What will become of the United States of America, since we are now such a hateful, violent, deluded, divided nation?
I ask Father God now. He has all the answers.
Sometimes, it’s good for me not to know.
Sometimes, I have to wait for a really long time. But I realize that He loved me enough to leave heaven’s comfortable, glorious, holy perfection to come down to this putrid, dark, rebellious hellhole called earth to love me and die for me, and I am comforted. I can afford to wait patiently for an answer from the Lover of my soul.
The Lover of my soul, Who thrust Himself into the middle of the mess we call the human race through the birth and created the Christmas story. The Lover of my soul, Who then resurrected from the dead 33 years later to help me live.
Now that’s a God I can trust. Merry Christmas.
Be sure to stop by for a few minutes tomorrow for a short but special post about Jesus, the Christ and the reason for Christmas, as I share one of my favorite poems which I first presented in a speech class many years ago. Also look for Christmas greetings tomorrow on my blog’s FB page and on IG @glendaggordon.