More Light than Polish

by DanWolgemuth on December 15, 2017

The auditorium was packed and expectations were high. Keith and Kristyn Getty were about to begin their Irish Christmas concert, and those of us in the room were filled with anticipation.

As the artists entered, applause rose. The welcome inspired and encouraged the artists, and the evening didn’t disappoint. From the opening song to the closing ovation, artistry was embraced with celebration and praise.

Familiar Christmas anthems echoed throughout the auditorium. Accompanied with lights and dance and a vast array of musicians, every ingredient made for a recipe of joy.

But then, as the words settled into my soul, I was struck by the harsh and stunning reality of the austerity and invisibility into which Christ Himself was born.

A teenaged mother. An obscure location. An unwelcoming environment.

And yet, as Tim Keller reflects, “The incarnation is the universe-sundering, history-altering, life-transforming, paradigm-shattering event of history.”

Jesus set His glory aside to enter the planet and population He created.

The fanfare came from the heavenly realm. Angels and stars provided the introduction. But the introduction was not for a celebrity, but for an infant.

“…he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.” (Isaiah 53:2b)

The prophet continues…

He was despised and rejected by men,
                        a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
            and as one from whom men hide their faces
                        he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (Isaiah 53:3, ESV)

Christ. The Son of God. The Creator of the Universe.

He enters the scene surrounded by the smells and sounds of a barn. Mary and Joseph were his initial audience. A feeding trough was His podium.

Majesty gives way to vulnerability. Glory exchanged for ridicule.

There is no glamour in this story, only sacrifice for the sake of hope. Condescension for the sake of rescue.

Jesus created a garden, but He entered a stable. He spoke and the world was formed, but now His Words become flesh. He proclaimed the galaxies into being, and now His muted cries land in oblivion.

This is not a Broadway show, no; it is an act of incomparable humility.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. (Philippians 2:5-7)

Emptied. Poured out. Despised. Ultimately abandoned.

No thunderous applause. Just sacrificial obedience.

Light into the darkness. Hope pushed aside despair. Jesus became a human.

Don’t polish this story… instead, shine a light on the cost of grace.

“The incarnation is the universe-sundering, history-altering, life-transforming, paradigm-shattering event of history.”

The Word became flesh… at enormous expense. What amazing grace.

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