Two thousand years ago, the humble baby born with the Name above all names hastened a rebellion above all rebellions.
Jesus, born in the flesh, was God become incarnate. Everything the world thought it knew about itself and about God was turned on its head. The God of creation, laws and power revealed Himself through humanity, faith and humility in an obscure baby born to a teen-aged virgin.
Every Christmas, we shop to surprise our loved ones with gifts.
God surprised everybody with Jesus.
Whether it was Hebrew history, Greek philosophy, Roman law, pagan gods or Asian mysticism, Jesus Christ was exactly what the world needed but absolutely not what the world expected … or wanted.
Hebrew scripture was rich with stories of a relational God who was at once utterly loving and relentlessly just. God’s story, written in the Bible’s Old Testament, assured His unique, uncreated but creative being. Amid sin and law, amid temporal love and ceaseless treachery, fallen man wallowed in an unrelenting pit of self-interest. God’s prophecies pointed to a coming Messiah who would set the fallen world right with the example of God’s gloriously unselfish love, righteousness and power.
The Hebrews expected the Messiah to come and kill the Romans. The Romans, who insisted that everyone worship Caesar, were duped by the Hebrews into killing Jesus, the Messiah King whom the Jews would not worship. The Greeks, largely unaware of Hebrew scripture, philosophically posited an objective, infinite and eternal good, never expecting that particular, personal and enormous “good” to divinely arrive on earth, in humanity, in history … in a Palestinian manger.
Globally, mankind created gods in every imaginable image, including his own.
With faith, Jesus toppled every other king, god, idea and human power – defeating death by dying, erasing man’s sin with His pain on the cross, restoring man’s image in God’s glorious kingdom and assuring man’s eternal life with His resurrection.
Nothing else in man’s history is as radical as that. Man’s pedantic rebellion against man – the perpetually cross-purposed politics of society, governments, cultures, nations, religions, philosophies, and lately, science – is a ho-hum charade of pyrrhic righteousness. Rebellion is empty without the Creator God’s Holy Son in our lives.
In our tongue-tied times, we are chastened to worship Jesus without His name and to celebrate Christmas without Christ.
It’s surprising how good it feels to rebel and say “Merry Christmas.”
Walters (firstname.lastname@example.org) would add, “Jesus loves you.”