A Camel Passing Through
The Eye Of A Needle
Compared To The Incarnation
When a person says or hears the words “Christmas” or “Christmas Story” what usually comes to mind? The answer is obvious. A manger scene, including: a barn stall, feeding trough (with hay), a baby, a new mother, a few shepherds, maybe the wise men and a collection of farm animals.
That picture is “Christmas.”
Well, that may be the public’s favorite part of the story but it certainly doesn’t cover all the details. It is only one moment in a long chain of events.
Several other things happened before and after the actual birth of Jesus, over the space of several months and involving people not included in the nativity, which are significant also, albeit not as publicly appealing. The list is long.
Along with Joseph, Mary, the wise men, the shepherds and Herod the Great, there is also:
- Zacharias (father of John the Baptist) – a priest who comes across as bored and possibly cynical about his part in Temple ceremonies.
- His wife Elizabeth
- And John the Baptist
Since Jesus was born in a barn only because there was no room in the Inn we don’t need to mention the Inn Keeper. He never appears in the nativity but his part is represented in the stories that accompany the scene. He isn’t a neglected or forgotten element to the story.
Long List of Miracles
And the same thing could be said about miracles. Even though the Virgin Birth gets most of the attention there is a long list of other miracles some of which are never mentioned:
- The incarnation
- Joseph’s dream
- The appearing of angels to Zacharias – they announced the conception of Zacharias’ first child, John, which he refused to believe without an additional sign. The angel wasn’t enough.
- The muting of Zacharias – the sign he got.
- The conception of John the Baptist (his parents were very old)
- The re-enabling of Zacharias’ speech.
- The vision and prophecy of Simeon
- The discernment of Anna
- The angels’ announcement to the shepherds
- The Christmas star that guided the wise men to Judea
- And the sparing of Jesus’ life till he was safely established in Galilee
But there is one miracle, the biggest of all, that is rarely discussed. That is the miracle of transforming God the Son into the form of a human.
Yes, we usually refer to that as the incarnation but can the word “incarnation” really do justice to the idea? I don’t think so.
Incarnation, as we usually understand it, involves the transformation of a non-flesh entity from a different realm to a flesh and bones entity into our realm, this world. You know, a spirit being becomes a flesh being. But the incarnation of Christ was much more than that.
It was transformation in the extreme.
Before And After
Before, He was all knowing (omniscient) but was subjected to the learning process. He became a blank slate and learned the way we learn. Before the incarnation, He knew every piece of information and understood how it all related. After, He experienced curiosity and had to figure things out.
Before, He was all powerful (omnipotent) but allowed Himself to be limited by physical frailties and emotional vulnerabilities. He experienced hunger, exhaustion, exposure, danger and personal insult.
And, before the incarnation, He was everywhere present at once (omnipresent) but was reduced to the confinement of human nature.
Saying Jesus “assumed human form” understates the point. His transformation was like taking the entire universe and reducing it to a grain of sand. We can’t put a measurement on that or grasp it fully if we could. And it really isn’t fair to presume it was easy for Him to submit to this process.
The next time you see a manger scene realize that you are looking at immeasurable immensity that has been reduced to infancy. Amazing! That is a miracle!