An Ode to the Birthday Boy

Around two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ, God incarnate, was born. The specific date is now lost in time— the casualty of an archaic calendar system. Suffice to say, around the coldest point of the year, a boy was born in a manger. They named him Emmanuel: “God with us.”

I wonder what it was like.

I wonder what it was like for the God of the universe to allow himself to be so vulnerable as to take on human flesh. (People seem to forget that God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one. Finite as we are, we think that they’re separate entities. They’re not.) I wonder how painful it must have been for Jesus to squeeze himself into that tiny, human body: trying to fit his infinite mind into the human brain. I imagine it was like trying to run Adobe Premier Pro on an abacus. I wonder how he did it.

I wonder how it must have felt for him to be physical for the first time. I wonder what it was like for spirit to become flesh. To be God incarnate. I wonder if it was weird for him.

I wonder if he cried. I wonder if Jesus cried when he was born, knowing he was sent here to die. I wonder if he felt cold, being born in a drafty manger in the coldest point of winter. I wonder if he got sick.

I wonder what his first word was.

I wonder if he thought of us when he learned to walk, when he scraped his knees, when he developed callouses in his hands, or every time he hurt himself. I wonder if he got along with his brothers. I wonder if Mary ever treated him differently, knowing he was the Son of God.

I wonder if Jesus was a quiet child. Did he play games like children did? Did he do things for fun when he was 8, or 12, or 16? Imagine Jesus at 8 years old playing with his siblings. Imagine Jesus at 14 or 15 learning how to be a carpenter.

Imagine the King of Kings choosing to be born in a manger, choosing a life of strife, a life of poverty, a life of rejection, a life of pain— the richest entity in the universe (Creator, Creator, giver of life)— living a life of abject poverty in a no name town in the middle of nowhere, in what was considered a third world country by today’s standards (Jerusalem was beholden to Rome and to Ceasar), working as a carpenter! A carpenter!

There’s nothing wrong with being a carpenter, but this is the God of the universe we’re talking about here— willingly choosing this life! I wonder, with all the abilities of my finite brain: why?

The answer lies in Jesus very being: God is love, and everything he does is for love. Jesus came came here on earth to live for us and to die for us.

Two thousand years ago a boy was born in a manger and we still celebrate! And we will continue to do so until the day he comes back for us! We will continue to shout and preach and proclaim Jesus Christ— that He was the Son of Man, the Son of God, born of a virgin in a manger, Messiah, Savior, sent here to die.

And some people don’t believe in Jesus Christ. I wonder why.

I wonder how they could possibly deny the historical evidence of his existence— the supernaturalness of his life, his works, and his death. I wonder how they could look at Jesus’ disciples before his death (cowardly Peter, even doubting Thomas), and compare their 180 degree shift in personality after his resurrection and not see.

When Jesus was nailed to the cross only one disciple stayed amidst the jeering, hateful crowd to watch the Son of God’s most agonizing moment. 11 of the 12 had betrayed him. Not, perhaps, as deeply and irreversibly as Judas Iscariot did, but they nevertheless abandoned him. Peter even denied him thrice.

Yet Peter— dear, blustery, cowardly Peter— Peter who denied Christ three times— that same Peter died on a cross suspended upside-down, and claimed to be unworthy of dying the same death as his Lord and Savior.

I wonder how people can still deny Christ when the evidence of him remains today. Not only does this world deny him, but they also curse him. Jesus Christ today is made into a joke. He is a cartoon character, a caricature. His name for some is a curse word. He is despised still, he is rejected still.

Imagine a world filled with people who hate you, people who curse you, people who despise and reject you.

Now, imagine dying for all of them.

My mind boggles. I cannot fathom it. The King of Heaven, the ruler of all nations, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, choosing to be born in a manger, to live life in poverty, to be rejected and despised, to be hung on a tree and die for all sin.

His love is unfathomable, and  I can do nothing but worship.

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Happy Birthday to my King, my Savior, my Redeemer, my Counselor, my High Priest, my Deliverer, my All in All. Happy Birthday, Jesus. Here’s to eternity under his reign. May He have all the glory and all the honor and all the power and all the praise forever and ever and ever.

Amen.

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