Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Veiled in flesh

A day or so ago I finally had the opportunity to sit for a few minutes with Christmas carols running on Pandora. While I've had them playing in the background at work, this was my first chance to truly pay attention, to savor the meaning behind the melody.

I was thinking it was past time to get up and continue cleaning, when an old favorite came on. "One more song," I thought. Sitting back down, I started singing along. We reached the second verse.

I came totally undone.

Christ by highest heav'n adored,
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of the Virgin's womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see.
Hail the incarnate Deity.
Pleased as man with men to dwell,
Jesus our Emmanuel.

So much of the usual talk around Christmas centers on the Baby in the manager, the salvation that men when God stepped into His creation to provide a way for us to reconcile to Him.

But have you considered what Christ gave up to come here?

All the heavenly creatures knew who He was, and worshiped Him constantly. His glory shown out, the glory of the true and everlasting God. He spoke, and worlds came into being, sustained by His will.

Yet He chose to step into His own creation, to put aside His glory and take on flesh, becoming fully man while remaining fully God. Not only does He enter the human world in human form, but He arrives as the most fragile of creatures - a baby.

While Mary and Joseph undoubtedly were given an extra measure of grace to manage the day-to-day care of the baby King, they were still...human. First-time parents as well. Can you imagine God incarnate sitting waiting with a soaked diaper for a change? He who could call the angels to do His bidding, waiting on busy parents for so basic a need.

His humiliation did not begin with His arrest and trial.

Yet in spite of knowing all that was ahead, from dirty diapers through an ignominious death, He still chose to come.

He loves us that much.

Mild, He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die.
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.

Hark, the herald angels sing, 
Glory to the newborn King!

Merry Christmas, all.

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