Every mother can tell you the coming-into-the-world story of each of her children. They are often unique. I have witnessed the birth each of my three boys and they each came into the world in their own unique way. Wesley, my oldest, was born early. Taylor, son #2, came late. And Dylan came right on time.
There is one coming-into-the-world story that has been told and retold more than any other; it is the Christmas story. Christmas continues to capture the imagination of people, in part, because of the magical virgin birth. Revisiting the magic and mystery of the birth of Jesus is what puts Christ back into Christ-mas. From Primal Credo, Chapter 4:
Mary’s virgin birth remains the deep mystery of the Christmas story. For those who bemoan the shift in our culture from the Christ of Christmas to the Consumerism of Christmas, the creed offers a response, but not a response of angry protest. The creed does not lead us to boycott department stores that choose to use the phrase “Happy Holidays” over “Merry Christmas.” The creed offers a different response. It extends an invitation to explore the mystery of the virgin birth of Jesus. We reintroduce a Christ-centered meaning into our Christmas celebration by inviting people to explore the mystery of God becoming a man. Augustine explores this mystery in a Christmas sermon from the fifth century: “He lay in a manger, and yet the world rested in his hands. As an infant, He was wordless, and yet He was the Word Itself. Him whom the Heavens couldn’t huddle, the lap of a single woman could easily cuddle. She was toting about on her hip Him Who carries her about the universe.” How can the all-powerful God be a tiny, helpless baby? This question among others nudges us to explore not only the mystery of his birth, but also the mystery of Jesus as the God-man.
The human birth of the eternal Son of God is one of the most central truths in the Christian faith. Again from Chapter 4:
Mary, as a real flesh and blood human being, gave birth to Jesus, a real human being. He looked and acted and smelled like every other baby born on the earth. He did not have a super-human, spirit-like body. His newborn body resembled every other baby born in the Middle East at that time. What makes this birth such a wonderful mystery is he became a human being while remaining God. Jesus was neither a god who took on human qualities nor a man who transformed into a god. He was not some kind of mutant hybrid of half man, half god. He was (and is) the most unique being who has ever existed. He is simultaneously fully God and fully human. The Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard called this mystery “the sign of offense and the object of faith.” To confess belief in Jesus the Son of God born of a woman offends all rational sensibilities. More than illogical, it demands more of us than we are ready to comprehend. If Jesus is God embodied in human form, if he is the God-man, then shouldn’t we pay attention and take the things he says seriously? Some find the offense too overwhelming. They find it easier to ignore Jesus, than to take his life and words seriously. Yet for those of us who believe, the God-man has become the object of our faith, the centering point for our very existence, the foundation from where everything becomes stable and begins to make sense.
Jesus as true God and true man remains the reason we, in the words of C.S. Lewis, “due away with any talk of him being just a good moral teacher.” If Jesus is not indeed God when he went around claiming to do the works of God with the power and authority of God, then he is certainly not good. Indeed he would be quite wicked, evil, or deranged.
Either oppose him, hunt him down and try to kill him like Herod.
Or bring the him the gifts fitting a king and bow down and worship him as God.
He leaves us with no other choice.