The Inconvenience of Christmas

The Word became flesh! The Logos—the mind and thought of God—became mortal flesh. “Incarnation” is the theological term; in regular terms it means that God was spelling Himself out in language that we could understand. Immanuel—God with us. But such a gift is hard to understand.

An African boy listened carefully as his teacher explained why Christians give presents to each other on Christmas Day. “The gift is an expression of our joy over the birth of Jesus and our friendship for each other,” she said.

When Christmas day came, the boy brought the teacher a seashell of lustrous beauty. “Where did you ever find such a beautiful shell?” the teacher asked.

The youth told her that there was only one spot where such extraordinary shells could be found. When he named the place, a certain bay several miles away, the teacher was left speechless.

“It’s gorgeous . . . wonderful, but you shouldn’t have gone all that way to get the gift for me.” His eyes brightening, the boy answered, “Long walk part of gift.”

God came from heaven to a manger, from a manger to a cross, from a cross to the grave and from a grave back to heaven. And we ask, “Why all this trouble, God?” And God would say to us, “Long walk part of gift.”

And the whole world appreciates the gift, right? Not really. Now, just like that night long ago, Jesus is, for many, an inconvenience. There’s little room for God’s gift.

Will making room for Jesus be inconvenient? Yes, it will be at times. But before I complain too loudly, let me consider how Jesus inconvenienced Himself to make room for me.

  • Jesus inconvenienced Himself to make room for my humanity when He stuffed His omnipotence into a body of mortal flesh.
  • Jesus inconvenienced Himself when, though He was rich, He became poor for my sake and had nowhere to lay His head.
  • Jesus inconvenienced Himself and made room for me in Gethsemane when He drank the cup I deserved to drink and took my sins on His shoulders.
  • Jesus inconvenienced Himself when He carried my cross to Golgotha.
  • Jesus inconvenienced Himself when He was pierced for my transgressions, and crushed from my iniquities. The punishment that brought me peace was upon Him, and by His inconvenient wounds, I am healed. (Isa. 53:5)
  • Today He makes room for me when I pray, and bids me to come boldly to His throne. (Heb. 4:16)
  • Today He makes room for my sins in the depths of the sea where He buries them. (Micah 7:19)
  • Today He makes room for me in His mind where His thoughts toward me are precious and outnumber the grains of sand on the seashore (Psalm 139:18).
  • And today He makes room for me in Heaven, where He has gone to prepare a place for me, that where He is, there I will be also. (John 14:1-3) 

That’s what Christmas is all about. That’s why we sing and celebrate.

He came from the throne to the cradle as Immanuel to say, I am with you.

He came from the cradle to the cross as the Lamb of God to say, I forgive you.

He came from the grave to the right hand of the Father as our High Priest to say, I am praying for you.

And He’s coming back again as King of Kings to say, I am coming to get you!

Merry “inconvenient” Christmas.