Jesus, as a baby in His mother’s arms, looked so helpless, so non-threatening. When He was born, He was a mess. Having just passed through the birth canal, His head and face were swollen, He was covered in blood and water, and He struggled to catch his first breath. Mary and Joseph cleaned Him up with water that likely wasn’t very sterile but was all they could get in a stable; and Mary held Him close to her chest to warm Him and protect Him from the cold night air. Later that night when he woke hungry, she feed Him in the manner that mothers do.
As a newborn human baby in which the Son of God is clothed, He looked so helpless. But as the divine Son of God, He was actually holding every molecule of Mary’s body together. Her every breath was a gift from Him. He sustained her, even as she sustained Him. The star, the place, all of the universe, and scripture’s fulfillment, were and are held together under His divine control.
Fast forward 33 years, His mother can hardly look upon her son; so swollen, bloodied, hanging limp from 3 nails pinning Him to a cross. He had just struggled to take His last breath and announce the completion of the contract between the Creator and the Created. He looks so helpless this time too. Within the hour, word comes from Pilate that two men have asked for His body, and the death certificate is written with the point of a spear pushed up into his chest and more blood and water. It is what He came to do for us out of obedience to the Father, love for us, and the “joy set before Him.” In His humanity, He looked so helpless. In His divinity, He held together every molecule of His few friends and many enemies gathered around Him. Every breath they breathed to cry or to curse was a gift from Him. He sustained them even as His enemies killed Him. The storm, the torn curtain, all of the universe, and scriptures’ incredible fulfillment, were and are held together under His divine control.
Three days later the Divine and the Human are re-united as the One who laid down His life, took it up again. He sprung the surprise on His followers to their delight like a child opening a Christmas present under the tree, but better. He came back to them bearing the marks on His body, a smile on His face, and hope for their eternal future.
And He offers these to us, also, this Christmas. Have you loved and thanked Him?
Covenant Seminary Alumnus
Mike Mahlbacher (MDiv ’95)