On that first Christmas morning, God stepped into the world as a small, meek child. If this incarnation is what truly happened, it is without a doubt the defining moment in all of human history. It is the clearest expression we have from God, revealing who He is and what He is all about. As the Apostle John tells us, God became flesh and dwelt among us and we were able to behold the physical presence of his glory. John 1:14
What I find so interesting is the manner in which He came. Jesus is referred to four times in the New Testament as the “King of Kings,” yet he did not come into the world with the power and glory of a king. He was not raised in royalty. He came humbly into the world in incredible obscurity, never seeking to draw people to Himself by power and glory, but instead by love.
The great Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard gave great insight into the incarnation through a parable. It is the parable of a young king, who was single and desired a queen. His palace overlooks the marketplace, and one day he sees a young peasant girl come out to do her shopping. He’s quite taken by her beauty and her easy smile. He notices how kind she is to everyone and how they light up when she says hello. She walks to a food stall, buys some food, and, then, she disappears. The king is quite taken by her, yet, she has no idea that the king of this country has any idea who she is.
The next day, he looks for her and again he sees her. Before long, he looks for her every day at the same time out in the marketplace. One day he realizes that he is hopelessly in love with this peasant girl, who has no idea he has been watching her. Now he realizes that as king, as the sovereign of this country, he could force her to marry him and be his wife and queen. Yet, he also realizes that forcing her won’t really make her love him, and, he would never know if she truly loved him. And so he makes the decision to take off his crown, take off his royal clothes, and dress as a peasant, and enter her world.
God chose to send His Son, from His throne of glory, into the world as a child, to serve as God’s special revelation, and to demonstrate the incredible love of God.
We celebrate at Christmas the incarnation because it is the foundation of our faith. And on that first Christmas morning, the Eternal stepped into time, and we beheld His glory.
Richard E Simmons III is the founder and Executive Director of The Center for Executive Leadership and a best-selling author.