About 250 years ago, the pastor and theologian Jonathan Edwards said, “There is a conjunction of such excellencies in Christ as, in our manner of conceiving, are very diverse one from another.”
What he meant by this is that in the diamond of the person of Christ, we do not only see one beam of brilliance, but we see many different edges that refract Christ’s glory into a spectrum of brilliance. We do not only see might, but we also see lowliness. We see glory, and we see plainness. We see eternality, and we see frailty. We see authority, and we see submission.
And these things do not contradict each other. Nor do they make Christ appear less glorious. Instead, they together magnify a multi-faceted glow that makes Jesus appear incredibly great. Keep this in mind as you consider the Incarnation of Christ:
One perspective of Christ’s coming is clearly his humility. He was born in an inn next to braying donkeys and placed in a feeding through after being rejected at the inn (Lk. 2:7). His first audience was nothing more than commoners (Elizabeth, shepherds, Simeon, Anna). As a baby, he was completed dependent on Mary and Joseph to survive, even though it was he who created them (and sustained them!). No wonder Paul says that Jesus’ incarnation was an example of him making himself ‘nothing’ (Phil. 2:7).
But this is not the only facet we see. Conjoined with this do we also see the power of Christ brilliantly on display. He is born as one above all humans, Immanuel, God with us (Mt. 1:23). He is worshipped by the wise men as the king of the Jews, honored with the precious gift of gold (Mt. 2:2,11). His might is clearly seen as he forms (as the Creator of all things) a brilliant star to trumpet his arrival (Mt. 2:2). Thousands ('a great multitude') of angels proclaim his birth (Lk. 2:13). Elizabeth calls him ‘Lord’ (God!) while he is still unborn (Lk. 1:43)! Indeed, John says that this child is the very invisible glory of God made visible (John 1:14).
So, this Christmas, keep turning this diamond of the incarnation. Don’t just look at one angle. Be astonished at how low our Savior stooped and soar with how mighty he still was!
Come, let us adore this humble and powerful child!