Every year around Christmas time, I am struck anew by the awe and majesty that is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
As our focus once again rests on that amazing night over two thousand years ago when one exceptional baby came into the world, I am reminded about the power and love that defines our God.
And of course our thoughts on Jesus always come full circle during Christmas, because the reason for the season wouldn’t be complete without remembering the Sacrifice of His death.
As Christians we put a lot of focus on Jesus’ later years, specifically His last few years, and rightfully so.
After all, those were the years that contained all of His greatest feats.
He performed miracles like healing the blind and deaf. He cured leprosy. He helped the lame to walk. He even brought a person back from the dead.
They were also the years where He shared all of His wisdom with humanity.
His parables, His thoughts on Scripture, and His epic battle against the devil himself, are all found in those later years.
And finally, those were the years when He took on the ultimate burden, preformed the ultimate sacrifice, by accepting our sins and dying in our place allowing us to be forgiven.
And yet, a couple of Christmases ago I began to wonder…
What about the rest of Jesus’ life?
Yes His ministry was absolutely amazing, His willingness to die for us overwhelmingly moving, and the story of His birth miraculous.
But what about the rest of it?
What about His twenties?
What about those teenage years?
What about little baby Jesus, the child born on that night underneath that miraculous star? What was His life like after that night?
The more I thought about these questions the more I realized we had been doing Jesus an injustice.
Because those early years were every bit as much a sacrifice as His death was.
Let me explain.
Jesus was God. As God He had absolute control of, well, everything. He could literally speak things into existence. He commanded angels. He kept the universe in its place.
As a human, Jesus was just like you and me.
To put it into perspective imagine that you were moved to become an earthworm in order to save all earthworms from eternal damnation.
An earthworm cannot see, they cannot hear. In fact, the only sense they have is the ability to feel vibrations. An earthworm’s life is lived in darkness beneath the dirt, crawling through mud, which they eat, and then relieving themselves in that same mud.
Going from human to worm would be filled with drawbacks and humiliation.
That was the humiliation that Jesus endured by becoming a human.
He went from all seeing to, maybe, twenty/twenty vision with terrible night sight.
He went from all-powerful to needing to eat regularly just to stay alive.
Speaking of eating, there is nothing to suggest that His digestive system worked any different from ours. I think you get my meaning.
By the way, indoor plumbing wasn’t a thing back then. Rome had something like it in certain areas, but Israel where Jesus spent His childhood, not so much. Again, I think you can see where I am going.
Not to mention those earliest years.
Jesus was an infant and there is no reason to believe He was any different than your average infant of today.
He was breastfed. He was probably colicky at one point. His immune system was likely compromised and He probably got sick. He had to have his diapers changed.
I can’t even imagine what it must have been like to go from being the God of the universe to a human baby.
That’s why I feel that we have done Jesus an injustice.
Because we have left out a vital piece of the story, we have ignored a very real part of His sacrifice.
Jesus lived for somewhere around forty years—forty years—as a human being .
I’ve only lived for twenty-four and I’m pretty sick of my human limitations.
Yes being spit on during His trial, being whipped and chained when He had done nothing wrong, and being treated like a criminal were all a part of the humiliation He endured for our sake.
But becoming a human, in and of itself, was also a part of that humiliation. Living a human life, all the while knowing what it was like to literally be God, speaking kindly to ignorant men about things they had now real knowledge of, except what He himself had shared with them in past centuries, all of that, was part of His Grace to us.
I think remembering all of this is vital to not only honor His sacrifice, but can also be used to keep His instructions in perspective. Often times we dismiss His commands as impossible, because after all we’re only human.
But Jesus was a human when He asked us to follow His will. If we think of Him as a man, as a human being with the same limitations as us, the things He asked of us, like loving our enemies and putting God before everything else, become things that any human is capable of.
Jesus wasn’t asking for the impossible. He was asking for our best.
So this Christmas, while we marvel at all of the miracles Jesus brought into the world, let’s not forget that they are only part of the story. And let’s honor all of Jesus’ sacrifices.
Merry Christmas and God Bless,