Christmas is not a time that we typically associate with suffering. It’s a time that we celebrate abundance through gifts and food. We string trees and houses with lights and hang greenery around our houses. But for many people, a future of abundance, light, and life is only a vague dream to be hoped for. However, for Christians, this is not a mere wish. A future of abundance, light, and life has been secured and paid for by Christ.
The Son entered our world taking on flesh. All that we mean when we say, “God,” Jesus was; all that we mean when we say “man,” Jesus also was. This is a mystery too big for our minds. He wasn’t 100% man and 100% God. That’s non-sensical, and we can’t place a numerical value on his divinity or his humanness. However, we know that he is God and he is man, but knowledge of the mechanics of that union belongs to God alone. The wisdom of God is infinitely incomprehensible for us as humans.
God’s greatness in comparison to our lowliness makes the humility of Christ in the incarnation that much more amazing. When Christ took on flesh, he didn’t count his equality with God as something to be held on to. He humbled himself and subjected himself to death and execution. Christ taking on flesh was Christ taking on suffering. This is why the birth of Christ is such good news for us. Christ came and suffered for us. We are justified, reborn, and given his Spirit today; and tomorrow we are resurrected into a world redeemed and perfected through Christ’s suffering.
This is why, in the midst of darkness, we can celebrate light, life, and abundance as we anticipate the second coming through remembering his birth.
Some Practical Considerations
- Christ suffered, and so will we. Christ is equal with God but he humbled himself and entered an earthly life full of suffering and sorrow. We are not above Christ and should not assume we are above suffering and humility. Christ did not view himself as too good for suffering, and neither should we.
- We can celebrate with joyful expectancy in the middle of a dark world. Christ came once and he will come again. Christmas gives us the ability to hang up lights and to be lights even in the darkest time of the year. Paul goes on to remind us that we should have the humility to experience hardships without grumbling or complaining because we are lights in a dark world.