If you are an American, whether you are saved or not, you have most likely heard the history of Christmas, also referred to as the Christmas story. We are familiar with how both the books of Matthew and Luke depict the entry of Jesus into this world. However, my favorite version of the history behind Christmas is a bit different. It is found in John 1:1-14, and it goes like this…
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.
There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
The ‘Word’ in this passage is Jesus Christ. You see, the story doesn’t begin when Jesus enters this world; it started at the very beginning. It was all according to plan that Jesus would come and taste the world of his creations and then be brutally murdered for them. It was the plan that light would step into darkness so that mankind would finally be able to run to and cling to the light.
We like to reduce Jesus and turn him into a simple baby who had no idea why he was here, or a docile and totally nice guy hanging on a tree. Those depictions simply are not the truth. We fail to realize the magnitude, the crippling blow to Satan, the enormity of what happened when Jesus, being fully God, stepped down into the story he created and wrapped himself in flesh, coming to dwell among the people he handcrafted and loved deeply.
Jesus did not go from baby to placid man to cross and back to Heaven like we sometimes prefer to tell the story. He came with a long foretold purpose, a specific intention to be able to remove the sin and guilt his people carried and draw them to himself. He was polarizing, an earth shaker. He called the religious on their hypocrisy and forgave and spent time with those who were the scum of that society; he was counter-cultural.
No, we cannot simply diminish Jesus and turn him into a baby who did some cool things when he grew up; when compared and contrasted with the Bible that is heretical. Jesus came to live a brilliant and completely holy human life, and then to be slaughtered for the sins of the ones he loves, you and I, that we may be saved. So when you tell the story of Christmas, remember that while Jesus was a baby in a manger for a short time, that baby was fully God, there with a purpose, and came to save us all.