Read: Psalm 27:1-14; Isaiah 26:7-15; Acts 2:37-42
Reflect: If you go looking for it, there is a lot of physical “place-language” in the Psalms. And you see a sampling of that in our text, Psalm 27. Tugged by gravity just like we are, David describes his life with God in very earthly, topographical terms: stronghold, house/dwelling of the Lord, temple, tabernacle, shelter, rock, straight path. God fitted us for earth and so we are people of topographical “place.”
In eternity past, the Son of God didn’t need topography. For Him, “place” was “everywhere.” But because of the miracle of the first Christmas, now the Son of God has entered into our experience of “place.” We call these four December weeks, “Advent,” which means coming. The Son of God who never had to “come” because he always was “everywhere,” now accommodates to our locality—a womb, a body, an animal feedbox, a small town, a country, a planet, a solar system, a universe.
“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” – There aren’t very many other sentences in our language that call up so many emotions and memories. Airports are packed. Jet liners accelerate down runways with every seat occupied by a business traveler, a college kid, a grandma or grandpa, a mom, a dad or a child all going home for Christmas. It was 1967, I was 18 years old and
I was coming home for Christmas for the first time in my life. I was a student in the windy city of Chicago. I had a full load of classes, a dorm room, a new church, new friends, and a part time job. I’d been gone from home four months. I’d never been away from home even a week before. Those hours in a Boeing 727 gave me plenty of time to think about all that had changed in my life during this time. When you have been away from home, you come back different. Things are never exactly the same.
That was never truer than in the case of Jesus. Jesus’ first Christmas meant something as place-defining as a body. When Jesus came to His first earthly home, it meant more change than we will ever comprehend. This was a radical change. Without diminishing His deity, He clothed Himself with the limitations of a human body. We call this the “Incarnation” from the Latin stem “carn-“ meaning “flesh.” Throughout the millennia of Old Testament revelation God had described Himself as having arms and hands and eyes but all that was just poetic license. God didn’t have a body. God is spirit and therefore is not touchable and is not visible.
But then, one day, the Eternal Son of God miraculously compressed Himself into the microscopic ovum of a young woman. He developed in the womb and after birth was wound up in the constraints of traditional Jewish swaddling clothes. The self-existent one now sucked milk. He tired and slept. Mary changed His diaper.
Jesus’ first Christmas meant incomprehensible change. Undiminished deity assumed undiminished humanity. Coming home to Bethlehem for Christmas meant leaving home in heaven. It meant kneeling shepherds instead of kneeling angels. It meant lying in a stable manger instead of sitting on a celestial throne. The Unbounded One stooped down into our “place” and that has changed everything!
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Discuss: Ask if anyone in your family remembers a time when they were coming home for Christmas. How did it make them feel? How do you think Jesus felt to be away from his heavenly home by coming to our home for his first Christmas?
Pray: Lord, it’s awesome to us to think how much you gave up by coming into our “place”—our “topography.” We didn’t have a prayer without you. Your salvation plan offers us rescue from certain destruction. You care so much and we will spend all eternity trying to figure out why. We bless your name with heart-cracking gratitude.
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