Reprinted from Christmas Card Theology, originally published Dec. 5, 2009.
My wife and I usually send out cards that have some relevance to scripture. I’d rather have an idealized manger scene or white baby Jesus than snowy villages or generic “holiday” wishes. This card I really appreciate. As names of God go this is actually a pretty short list. It’s not exhaustive for the names of Jesus but does a good job. Consider the Isaiah 9 prophecy: His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Wait, the Son of God will be called Everlasting Father? That’s the beauty of the Trinity. You can’t think of God as three, He is one God manifest as three persons. But the Son and the Father are one. He was before all things. The Father or the Son? Yes.
Okay, I’m playing word games. Jesus is simply too much to grasp. He is the good shepherd and at the same time the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. He is the bread of life and the fountain of living water. He is the great High Priest and also the sacrifice. He describes himself to his disciples as their Lord, friend and brother. The reason we have so many symbols and analogies is that in our finite capacity for understanding we cannot fathom God. His love and mercy are infinite. Jesus left his throne in glory and descended to our condition. He did not simply visit the earth but was born in human flesh. He was not born into wealth or privilege but as a Jew. He was not even an important Jew, but the offspring of an unwed mother betrothed to a carpenter. He was born in less than a barn, wrapped in rags and laid in a feed trough. Can you honestly say you understand that? Neither can I.
And all this for what? So that 33 years later he could hang on the cross and die the excruciating death of a Roman prisoner of state. The Son of God, maker of Heaven and earth, King of kings and Lord of lords, entered the world into filth and misery only to be executed as a criminal and hurriedly buried in a borrowed tomb. Why? Because he loved you and I while we were still unlovable. When we could not come to God he came here, in such a manner, for us.
God loves you.
God is in the manger.
That my friend is the greatest story ever told.