It’s Christmas!

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About eight pounds of God in the flesh.

What an amazing thought! It seems almost sacrilegious. For many it is so wrong they consider it blasphemy.  But for others of us, it is the whole point of our faith.

Eight pounds of Divine Love came to be a man to dwell among us. To experience human life.  To become like us in all things, so that, at the right point in time, He would completely satisfy His Father’s Law.

Eight pounds of God lying in a cow’s trough in a dirty stable. He left the splendour of His home on high and allowed Himself to become helpless and in need of constant care. He emptied Himself of all His Power to experience our weakness. The essence of God coupled with the weakness of man. It baffles the mind, it’s too big to comprehend. But, He did it.

Christmas is the beginning of His story on earth.  Many people stop at that story and never contemplate the other experiences He had while walking among us.  Growing up I would always give myself an “out” for not living up to Jesus’ example. I mean, He was God…of course He could get it right. But, you see, that misses the point.  He was also fully man and had to experience life as a human.

Since we are flesh and blood He partook of the same. “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation”  ~Hebrews 5:8,9

So what, exactly, did He experience besides the stable and the crucifixion?

Before the coldness of that night, the Holy Spirit “overshadowed” Mary and she conceived. Jesus experienced life in the womb and the pains of labor. None of us can remember that experience, but what do you bet, He can? He lived in a poor family.  Turtledoves were offered for the sacrifice when Joseph and Mary presented Him at the temple. A lamb was the usual sacrifice unless it could not be afforded.  He was circumcised as the Abrahamic covenant ordains.

Joseph was a working man, a carpenter. Jesus grew up in a working class family with brothers and sisters. He knew what it was to have to endure siblings and, being the oldest, He probably had to babysit. As was the custom, He would have worked alongside His father as a carpenter. On occassion He must have hit his thumb.

He followed the customs of His time and the God’s Law given through Moses. He went to Jerusalem for Passover. Once, at the age of twelve, He stayed behind at the temple. We usually hear that He was there amidst the teachers, both listening and asking questions. The teachers were amazed at His answers. But notice that He worried his parents, “Son, why have you treated us this way? Your father and I have been anxiously looking for you.” He knew what it was to have to be in subjection to parental authority – even though He knew more than them. How many of us have rebelled, thinking we knew more than our parents? Jesus actually did know more and yet He continued in subjection to them. He continued to grow in wisdom, stature and favor with God and man.

At the beginning of His ministry, He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. He underwent intense and very personalized temptations. Satan attacked Him at His most vulnerable points. He was hungry, having fasted forty days.  He must have been in pain. I’ve only ever fasted for 24 hours and it was hard! He chose not to relieve His hunger by turning the stones into bread. He chose not to succumb to the temptation of “showing off” His supernatural powers by having the angels rescue Him. He gave up His chance to escape death and still have all the kingdoms of the world. Satan knew where to “get at” Him – just as he knows our weakest points. Jesus fully experienced temptations as a man.

The prophecy in Isaiah 53 tells us that He was not good-looking. He was not stately or majestic, nothing exceptional that we should notice Him. This one passage speaks volumes to me. I grew up being teased for my freckles and red hair. I felt very plain. The passage goes on to say that He was despised and rejected – a man of sorrows (pains) and acquainted with grief (sickness). I live with an illness that causes whole-body pain. When I read this passage it drives home the point that He knows what I’m going through. He totally gets me!

People hid their faces from Him. He was rejected.  His own did not receive Him.  He was slandered. The scribes said He was demon possessed. His family thought He was crazy. His brothers didn’t believe Him and the world hated Him. Have you ever felt any of this? Has this ever been your experience?

He suffered deep grief to the point of death. I have been anxious but, I have never “sweat great drops of blood.”

He prayed and experienced silence from Heaven. I’ve been there.

He was beaten, spit upon, cursed, humiliated and then condemned for something He did not do. His friends all ran away from Him.  They left Him to go through His darkest hours alone. Have you ever felt abandoned, or worse yet, actually been abandoned? He understands.

God became flesh and dwelt among us.

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped (utilized or asserted, held onto selfishly) but emptied Himself (put aside His supernatural abilities), taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.   ~Philippians 2:5-11

Therefore, since we have so great a high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  ~Hebrews 4:14-16

Yes, it’s Christmas…the beginning of His time on earth to experience life in the flesh.

Praise to the Father, the Son was obedient.  Even to the point of death on a cross. 

For this reason, He is highly exalted!

Mighty God.  Prince of Peace.  Everlasting Father.

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8 responses »

  1. Hi Michelle! I am so amazed! I just posted a new post and then came to read yours, and you were speaking of the same things! I guess the Lord really wants to get this message across! We even both quoted the same passage in Philippians. Of course, you are so much better at writing about it! – I loved reading this! Have a wonderful Christmas!
    Love, Nancy

  2. Michelle, it seems you have some really deep and valuable insights into the Christian life!

    I actually saw your blog a day or so ago re your post about de-conversion. I was tempted to comment then but felt the issue was so complicated that whatever I said would be incomplete.

    Btw, I’ve discovered that, if I make a comment on someone else’s wordpress site, my ‘avatar’ and url show up provided I’m logged in to my own site while posting. So maybe that would work for you, I’m not sure. It might be that some of your settings need to be tweaked. But give it a try!

  3. I’ve had a hard time knowing when I should comment on others’ sites for the same reason. I’m not much of a debater and feel that’s where it always leads. My insights into Christianity come from a “personal” relationship and a high regard for scripture. I don’t want to sound “preachy” but I know I can come off that way. Thanks for stopping by. Anytime you want to comment, please do.

    About the log in – I always am logged in and when I’m on someone else’s site it appears my “avatar” and url are showing. I’m really not sure what’s going on. I’ll have my kids look into it – Thanks!

  4. Yes, I find that some people are reasonable and truly want to learn while others are just stuck on a perspective that is probably more about their working through psych. issues.–or rather, not having worked through them!

    Granted, we’re all imperfect and limited but I think some of us are really stuck, and debating with people like that can be a huge energy drain. I think there’s some scriptural reference where it says “avoid useless debates.” You’d probably know the precise verse. 😉

    Having said that, at times I feel it’s our duty to try to engage in constructive dialogue. But this is like a dance. Sometimes the other person just repeatedly steps on our toes and we have to politely decline. Other times the dance is good and much fun and knowledge can result.

    Just my two bits on the matter!

  5. I’ve spent too much time on the “de-conversion” site, but have begun to “feel” for the people in the discussions. It can be a huge energy drain!

    I like the dance metaphor – just hope I’m not the one stepping on toes 🙂

    Thanks for sharing – your site’s great!

  6. So true. It is so easy to make an “idol” of how we see Christ. It seems that the Bible is deliberately uninformative about Jesus’ physical appearance. If he was fully man then he must have fully suffered, at the hands of many besides the Pharisees and the Romans. Just as we have.

    Imagine Jesus, being picked on as a youth for ‘being different’. Maybe Joseph laid a guilt trip on him for not being good with wood. Who knows?

  7. Thanks for commenting, Christian. You gave me something else to think about – just because the Father chose Jesus’ parents doesn’t mean they were perfect. He may have had many more things to endure than we know. Good stuff.

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