Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas and the Gift of Humanity

If there's one more lesson to be derived from Christmas then it must be the truth of God's magnanimous declaration that His physical creation is good and that Christ's putting on of human flesh is the guarantee that the physical bodies of His saints, along with the whole of the created order, shall finally be saved and delivered from the tyranny of sin through the bearing in His physical body of its pains, terrors and penalty, both in His perfectly righteous life and in His atoning death.

Another is that when Christ took on the Curse the very moment His newborn infant lungs started breathing air and when He suffered through its harsh realities as He grew in strength and stature as a man (like each and every one of us), He showcased to the universe what a human being was supposed to be, something that only He as the Second Adam could accomplish.

In effect God, in Christ, was giving us back the gift of humanity by becoming human Himself—something that should elicit in us the same praise and worship that it did in the heavenly host, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!" (Luke 2:14).

The Gift of Gifts

O Source of All Good,

  What shall I render to thee for the gift of gifts,
  thine own dear Son, begotten, not created,
  my Redeemer, proxy, surety, substitute,
  his self-emptying incomprehensible,
  his infinity of love beyond the heart's grasp.
Herein is wonder of wonders:
  he came below to raise me above,
  was born like me that I might become like him.
Herein is love;
  when I cannot rise to him he draws near on
    wings of grace,
  to raise me to himself.
Herein is power;
  when Deity and humanity were infinitely apart
  he united them in indissoluble unity,
    the uncreated and the created.
Herein is wisdom;
  when I was undone, with no will to return to him,
  and no intellect to devise recovery,
  he came, God-incarnate, to save me
    to the uttermost,
  as man to die my death,
  to shed satisfying blood on my behalf,
  to work out a perfect righteousness for me.
O God, take me in spirit to the watchful shepherds, 
    and enlarge my mind;
  let me hear good tidings of great joy,
    and hearing, believe, rejoice, praise, adore
    my conscience bathed in an ocean of repose,
    my eyes uplifted to a reconciled Father;
  place me with ox, ass, camel, goat,
    to look with them upon my Redeemer's face,
    and in him account myself delivered from sin;
  let me with Simeon clasp the new-born child
    to my heart,
  embrace him with undying faith,
  exulting that he is mine and I am his.
In him thou hast given me so much
    that heaven can give no more.

— The Valley of Vision, Edited by Arthur Bennett (Edinburgh, UK: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1975).

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