From my new book Entirety… In the midst of the Christmas season, let us meditate on the greatness of Jesus’ full-givenness in love for us … We know and think of Jesus from our first sight of Him, a helpless Baby lain in a manger in an environment so primitive and crude. We recall the stories of His youth, how He taught in the synagogue and how He grew in wisdom and favor with God and man (Lk. 2:52).
We know Him later in His ministry to the masses, His teachings and His healings, His words of profound authority and weight, His compassion and demonstrations of love unparalleled—ultimately culminating in a cross of utter self-giving, the supreme symbol of love, the image of the greatest offering ever given.
Before the Shepherds…
When we think of Jesus, we begin with these images and these conceptions, for this is how He first revealed Himself to us. Yet there is more to His story than the frail beginnings of Bethlehem, and unless we push back that curtain to the scenes before the shepherds and kings to that which preceded the angelic host on Bethlehem’s hillside, we will not know the unutterable greatness and scandalous entrance of this One who gave Himself unto those who were once His enemies—the One who laid down His life, His all, not just in part but in entirety.
Jesus, the Living Word, was God from eternity, begotten before time, dwelling in the unapproachable light with the Father, inhabiting the everlasting ages before the world was made in all glory and majesty (Jn. 1:1–2). Perpetually worshipped by angels, He possessed all things from all eternity, and to any onlooker of the adoring heavenly hosts, there was no apparent reason for this to change.
A Scandalous Plan
Yet in the heart of God, from this love of the Holy Three, there was a plan of scandalous proportions rooted in outrageous love, and the crux of that plan involved the unthinkable departing of the Begotten Son from the shrouds of unapproachable light and the unimaginable emptying of Himself in the assumption of a human frame. It meant the unthinkable mystery that God the Creator would enter the world through the womb of a young maiden whom He Himself created, and ultimately, the shocking culmination of God hanging on a cross—the eternal statement of His endless hatred of sin and everlasting love of mankind.
The Baby that we find in the manger was the same One who was eternally the Possessor of All, the Author of Life, the uncreated One who was with God from everlasting (Mic. 5:2). He did not consider His eternal exaltation as something to be grasped and used for His own gain, but rather He chose in transcendent love to empty Himself of so great an exaltation, making Himself of no reputation and taking on the form of a bondservant (Phil. 2:6–7).
Out of Erupting Desire
Out of the erupting love and desire of the Godhead, the Son left the covering of unapproachable light and the vastness of His heavenly riches, wrapping Himself in the profound obscurity of poor humanity and becoming to the natural eye nothing more than a newborn Jewish boy, and later a typical young man, son of a carpenter, from Nazareth. In these obscure, ordinary beginnings, the extraordinary occurred: God took on the plight of humanity, the weakness and frailty of our dilemma and forever assumed His identity as our Brother, making us bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh forever.