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'God with us'

  • Written by Nelson T. Dy
  • Published in Opinion
  • Read: 196

It makes sense

THE new king surveyed his domain from the tallest tower of his castle. The previous king had oppressed his subjects; now the people were mired in gloom and squalor. But the new king was different. How could he stay in his cosy chambers while the people languished?

So he decided to go down and reach out to them. But there was one problem. Surely the people will be overwhelmed by his presence, with his resplendent robes, dazzling jewelry, magnificent chariot and hulking guards. How can he get the people to open their hearts to him?

The king was as wise as he was kind. He mused, “I know what I will do. I will strip myself of my robes and don the garments of a commoner. I will not toss money around but serve them with my own hands. I will eat what they eat. I will rejoice with them in their parties. I will weep with them in their funerals.” And so the king went.

What we celebrate as Christmas is something like that parable. God had broken into the arena of human history in the Person of Jesus Christ. The One and Only King surveyed earth from the highest heaven. He saw a people in darkness: in bondage to sin and oppressed by Satan. Instead of coming to us in dazzling deity, He came to us as man. Isaiah and Matthew called Him Emmanuel, “God with us.”

Popular renderings of nativity scenes would show baby Jesus with a halo around His head or with an unearthly, serene expression on His face. That is simply unlikely. Jesus as an infant would cry when He wanted His mother’s milk, when His diaper had to be changed, or when He hurt His knee trying to take His first steps.
As man, Jesus felt His stomach growling when He was hungry, His throat parched when thirsty, His muscles aching when weary. Hands that once molded the universe now had calluses from the carpentry shop. Feet that once rode on clouds had to tread dirt, one step at a time, to get to where He was going.
I am just skimming the surface. The more we reflect on what it cost Jesus to be born in Bethlehem, the more we are filled with awe. “God with us” is not just a theological concept, but a cause to burst into praise as the angels did during that first Christmas, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14)
Christ, of course, grew up to adulthood. He was crucified, rose again from the dead, and ascended to heaven. Where is the “God with us” now? Where else will the world see Jesus? They will see Him in us, if we display the same self-sacrificing attitude He had when He was born as a baby. Jesus did not hang on to His being God and refused to become man.
Similarly, are we clinging to some rights, prerogatives and privileges that hinder our service to others? This is how we can celebrate Christmas every day and have “God in us” within our very hearts. Receive the King and discover the wonderful meaning of Christmas beyond the parties and the gifts.
A blessed Yuletide to you and your family.