We are into the season of expectation and anticipation; a wait for the Savior of the world to be born. This has been a wait that lasted centuries for the Jews. This wait today is for Christ to be born in my life and in yours as our personal Savior. This birth of Jesus, the Savior of mankind is but a gift from the Heavenly Father; a gift of his beloved son wrapped in fragile human flesh and blood. The beauty of the nativity of Jesus is the divinity taking the form of humanity; the divine becoming human. In the nativity of the Lord, divinity comes down and elevates humanity.
Jesus the Divine
Jesus the Savior has a divine side that reflects all that he is as Son of God; his glory, his Lordship, his power and all that relates to Jesus as God. The birth of the Savior in the manger was adorned with all these divine characteristics of Jesus. His birth was one that was promised by God through the mouth of the prophets (Mt. 1:22-23). God willed to save his people from the slavery of sin and the ransom he paid for that was his only begotten son. God’s promise of the Savior of the mankind was one that helped the people of God to live in anticipation for ages. God repeated his promise to Mary, the Jewish maiden from Judea through his messenger, Gabriel. He promised her that she would conceive and bear a son through the power of the Holy Spirit (Lk. 1:31). Not only did God promise to Mary that she would bear a son but also he proposed to her the name that her miraculously born child should be called as, Jesus (Lk. 1: 31, 2:21). When the child Jesus was presented in the temple prophetess Anna saw the child and remembered the promise God made to his people and acclaimed the child as the redemption of Jerusalem (Lk. 2:38). Jesus was born according to the promises made by God to his people in his ineffable love.
The divine aspect of Jesus, the Savior born is visible to us in the glory that was exhibited all about the child Jesus. At his birth the angels appeared to the shepherds giving them the message of his birth and sang the praises of God (Lk. 2:8-20). The glory of the child born in the manger was visible to the naked eyes of the common shepherds in this vision from God. This glory was again in exhibition when the three wise men from various corners of the world came to Bethlehem and worshiped the king. To them the glory of the new born baby was seen in his royalty, priesthood and prophetic role (Lk. 2:46-49). They saw the glory of Child Jesus and bowed before him and adored him before presenting him with the gifts that suited his divine nature. The glory of Jesus was only being made visible to the world by this. That was not going to be the end of everything but rather a beginning of the manifestation of his glory as the son of God. Time and again Jesus, in his life, Jesus gave glimpses of his glory to the people.
Jesus is the Lord. It is the conviction that is formed in Elizabeth at the visit of Mary to her in Judea and the message that the followers of the gospels would get as they go through the infancy narratives. Elizabeth realized when Mary, her cousin greeted her that Mary is also pregnant like her and that the child in her womb was the Son of God. Therefore, Elizabeth addressed her as the ‘Mother of my Lord’. The presence of the Lord in the womb of the woman greeting her made her also filled with the Holy Spirit (Lk. 1:43). Elizabeth knew that the Lord had come to her in the womb of his mother and she could feel it in her womb as the infant in her womb leapt for joy at the presence of the Lord.
Jesus the Human
The human side of Jesus is the fragile nature of human beings, the vulnerability of human life that he faced as a human being. We find Jesus who flees from dangers in Mathew 2:13-15. Joseph took the child and mother and fled to Egypt for fear of being killed. Jesus as a child faced the danger of death. Herod and his people were on look for the child Jesus to kill him. Every human being faces at one or other time the threat to his/her life. Threats can be from enemies, from nature and even from unprecedented factors. In other words, Jesus faced threat to his life exactly like any human being could face. In his human nature he was vulnerable like you and me.
Another characteristic of the human nature of Jesus is the simplicity and humility that his life was adorned with. He was the promised king, the Son of God, the prince of peace, the almighty but when he was born, there was no palace to accommodate the prince; there were no luxuries of the world around to welcome the Savior. The child was laid in a manger wrapped in bands of old clothes (Lk 2:7). His parents couldn’t find a space for him. The Son of God was delivered and laid in a manger, where cattle were sheltered. It is here that the three wise men from the various corners of the world came and paid tribute to the king of the world. The king of peace, the king of kings was revealed to the world in the manger (Lk 2:16). The simplicity of Jesus is very clear from all these instances. The gospels quote Jesus saying about himself as the Son of Man having no place to lay his head. This is the simplicity of human life. He deigned to become a human being. When he became one, he lived it entirely to its core. He understood the poor, the sick and the suffering. He experienced the reality of life of simple common man. He tasted life by living like them.
Another characteristic of Jesus’ human nature was his humility. He never boasted that he was the Son of God and so he was to be respected and given preference. He didn’t desire or dream of living in a palace. He preferred to stay with his mother and father at Nazareth, a village (Mt. 2:23). Jesus remained humble from his birth till his death. Even when he was buried, it was in a tomb that was not his but someone else’s that he was laid. He died a death that was so humiliating for many at that time.
It is this Jesus who has a divine as well as a human nature to his existence that we are waiting for to be born in our lives. This Jesus is our savior; the God who came down on earth became a human being in order to save us from the slavery of sin. The nativity of this God and Man is to be celebrated in our lives, is to be experienced in our lives, is to be lived in our lives. Let this Christmas, the feast of the nativity of our Lord provide each one of us with an Emmanuel experience in the manger. Let the poor lad of Mary and Joseph be our constant companion in our days to come