While I was in our cellar getting out the Christmas decorations, I ran into a water pipe and cut my head. Then, later that evening, after I had brought up the heavy boxes of candles, stockings and figurines, I felt a twinge in my back and realized that I had over exerted myself. The next day I was reading an Advent devotional which included the following portion of scripture:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” John 1:1, 14
As I read those words, I immediately wondered if Jesus ever bumped his head or was troubled by a backache. It is strange and wonderful to consider God with diaper rash or colic. Did the Creator of the universe suffer with adolescent acne? Did God ever catch the common cold or have the common headache? Was He allergic to poison ivy or ragweed? When He was working with His adoptive father in the carpentry shop, did He ever bang His thumb with the hammer or stub His toe on a sawhorse? The Word became flesh – God wrapped himself in a body that bruised, bled and ached.
The Word became flesh – God (the One who is omnipotent and omnipresent) determined to become limited in strength and substance. Am I the only one who takes comfort in the fact that Jesus needed sleep, nourishment and water consistently? It captivates my mind that the God who flooded the earth with water cried out that he was thirsty and the one who spoke and the universe leapt into existence regularly retreated to rest. He gave up the ability to be in all places at all times and therefore, as the Bible says, arrived late on several occasions. God, who stands outside of time, ‘wore a watch’ (FYI – I know, that concept is anachronistic, I’m sure you understand my point). The Word became flesh – God was limited in what He could do and where He could go.
The Word became flesh – God entered into human existence completely. Emmanuel (“God with us”) means that the author and perfecter of our faith surrounded himself with sin. It may too great to fathom this truth: The Lord willing gave up the perfect, sinless and glorious halls of Heaven to wade in the muck and mire of earthly decadence. While the Scriptures are clear that Jesus never sinned, it is also clear that He was tempted in every way, just as we are. Was there a precocious girl in Nazareth that batted her eyes at Him? Was he offered ‘too much wine’ which He politely refused? Was He tempted to overindulge in culinary or consumer goods, but walked away without regret? The Word became flesh – God was challenged by the cultural climate but remained chaste.
What a blessing it is to know that Christmas means, among many other things, that God came down from Heaven to be one of us. God knows our pains and our struggles. The Lord understands our limitations and our longings. He has made His dwelling among us…so that one day, through trusting in Him as Lord and Savior, we can make our eternal dwelling with Him.
Emmanuel: God is with us.