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…and the Baby grew: A Christmas Thought

For the first time in my life, I’m celebrating Christmas as a dad—the proud dad of a seven-month-old namesake of Jesus. (Jesus is the Greek form of Joshua, Jeshua, and Jehoshua). And the interesting fact that my name is Joseph (same name as Jesus’ earthly ‘dad’) has inspired me to think through some parallels between these last seven months of my life and what it must have been like when God became a baby. My findings stretched my boundaries on the humanity of Jesus.

I love Joshua. Like all babies—in fact, all humans—he poos. (His poo tends to be so colourful and beautiful that his mum calls it ‘Vitamins’ ?). He wees. He depends on his mum for food. He speaks baby language. He smiles a lot. And, yes, he cries, too. Eleos and I have watched him grow in seven months through different phases (a major one being the onset of the teething phase). He has gone from being the cute little quiet baby that rarely cries to becoming the (still cute) energetic playful little lad that rarely stops talking (if only we could understand his language). He was asleep a couple of days ago and it felt like we both saw him anew and almost exclaimed together: “He’s grown so much!” It’s amazing how much change had happened in seven months to the tiny little fragile bundle of joy we left the hospital with seven months ago… And we can’t help but imagine the phases that lie ahead of him. (Schooling, Girls, Purpose Discovery…on and on it goes).

Makes me wonder what it was like for Jesus to have gone through all these baby stuff… Think of it for a moment. Imagine all the babies in your world and try to picture Jesus being like that.

He pooed like them. He spoke baby language like them. He probably got playful when He saw other babies, too. Perhaps, He had pimples when He reached puberty. For all we don’t know, He may have been tone-deaf or colour-blind! Isaiah prophetically said concerning Him, “There was nothing special or impressive about the way he looked” (Isaiah 53:2 ERV). Even His name—Jesus—was as common in His incarnation days as Oliver or Harry is in England today. For all we do know, He had to make difficult choices like you and I do daily and He faced the same temptations we all face. One thing’s for sure: He was, while truly and completely divine, also truly and completely human.

Strange as it is to our rational minds, the humanity of Jesus tells us that God was born (Luke 2:7); had a common human name (Matthew 1:21), grew (Luke 2:40, 52); got tired (John 4:6); got thirsty (John 19:28); got hungry (Matthew 4:2); experienced physically weakness (Matthew 4:11; Luke 23:26); died (Luke 23:46); and had a real human (but glorified) body after His resurrection (Luke 24:39; John 20:20, 27).

His heart—as His emotions reflect—was also truly and fully human! So human that Jesus could marvel—could be dazed! (Matthew 8:10). He could feel sorrowful and weep (John 11:33-35). In fact, He sometimes prayed emotionally “with loud cries and tears” (Hebrews 5:7). And His (finite) human mind meant that God had to “grow in wisdom” (Luke 2:52)—that doesn’t even make sense! His mind was so human that God the Son—Who knows all things—doesn’t know when He’s coming back again (Mark 13:32); so human that even though He has “come down from heaven, not to do [His] own will but the will of [the Father]” (John 6:38), He still had His human will intact so much so that He could pray to the Father, “Not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39)

All that to say this: While Jesus was, and is and will never stop being truly and fully God, He also became man in the entirety of what that means. And what’s more? HE IS STILL BOTH! Jesus did not just take on a human body for 33½ years. He actually ascended to heaven in a human body—a glorified human body—the kind of body we will get when Jesus comes again. As such He’s in heaven right now both as God the Son and AS A MAN—truly man and truly God. That’s why Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 2:5 “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, THE MAN Christ Jesus.”

SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR US TODAY?

For one, it assures us that the price for our Salvation has been fully paid.[1] But on a more practical level, that God became a man means that you can relate with Jesus on a deeper and more intimate level—the same way you relate with a physical BFF. It changes the way you pray when you realize that the Person you are praying through is as truly human as He’s truly God in all respect. He understands physical needs as much as He understands Spiritual needs. That there is nothing that you will ever go through—or any temptation that you will ever fall into—that He will not understand (Hebrew 4:15-16). His invitation to come boldly to the throne of grace now makes more sense because there is One Man on the throne that truly and fully understands what it is to be human—and all the tendencies, complexities and intricacies that come with that.

And most especially, becoming like God becomes reachable. When you remember that He that “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38) was also a man like you and I, godly living becomes attainable. More so, He lives in us to make that happen!

I think that’s what Christmas is really about.

The reason why Christ is the only One whose birthday we celebrate by revisiting His birth is because that moment in History changed everything—including history itself. His nativity became our gateway to eternity. If He was never born, He wouldn’t have died and if He didn’t die, we wouldn’t have access to eternal life. But He was born crucified that we might become glorified. GOD became MAN so we can start relating with Him not via other people, but personally. Intimately. Intentionally.

Back to Joshua. Two days before he was born, I wrote him a letter which he will get when he’s old enough to understand its content. But in the letter, I chronicled the story of his mum and I—where we were coming from and THE SECRET we both found that changed our stories for good and forever! I will end this piece with a paragraph from the letter since what it says rings true not only for Joshua but for all humanity.

“…the secret is in fact not hidden…The secret is A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH A GOD WHOSE LOVE FOR US IS UNFATHOMABLE. Your mum found out that what she couldn’t get from home…she could get directly from the source—God! I also found out that there is Someone that loved me so infinitely much that not even my ‘lust problem’ could make Him love me less (and not even my ‘being a good boy’ could make Him love me more). Then I found out that He could live inside of me in a PERSONAL AND INTIMATE WAY and empower me to do what I couldn’t do on my own…”

Christmas made that possible.

If you haven’t, today is a good day to take the ultimate gift.

Meanwhile, from Joshua, Eleos and I, we wish you a Merry Christmas!

 

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[1] Overpaid, in fact. God’s justice demanded that only a man—a SINLESS man—could die for the sins of humanity in a once-and-for-all dimension. Unfortunately, no man qualifies for all of us were “born guilty” (Psalm 51:5 GW). But God Himself became man via an immaculate conception and died for the sins of humanity. Only Jesus Christ could be said to be sinless—not just because He never did anything that anyone could term as ‘wrong’ by whatever standards—but much more because He wasn’t born with the sin nature like the rest of us.

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