“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the word was God. And the word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. ” John 1:1,14 NKJV
Jesus, the Word of God, became flesh. During the Christmas season, it’s so easy to overlook this and miss the weight and beauty of what took place. We focus alot on whether or not we can celebrate Christmas, and after all the fighting is done, we never sit and contemplate on how incredible this is. God literally changed the game on all of creation, and as He displayed the fullness of His glory, He did it in the most ordinary way possible.
Critics, unbelievers, and false teachers would love to compare the birth of Christ to pagan myths and human fantasies. You can see why they would do this, since the involvement of gods amongst men is a staple in mythology. What the critics miss is that these myths are dramatic affairs; that show deceit, uncontrolled impulses, selfishness, and no attempt to connect to history in any way. However, the gospels give the details of what took place in the most unassuming and straightforward way, and it’s done this way because that is how God intended it. His glory was hidden in plain sight.
The Messianic expectation of the Jews focused on a warrior coming in a full display of glory. There was good reason for this, because the prophets of Israel did in fact prophesy that the Messiah would bring all the kingdoms of this world subject to Him, and the glory of Israel would remain forever. Also, before the first century, there was a period of four hundred years that no prophet was sent by God to speak to Israel. There were false messiahs that rose up and were defeated along with their followers.
The eternal Son of God willingly put on human flesh in the midst of this backdrop, and went against Israel’s expectations. Mary, the teenage girl God chose, was a virgin who had yet to make a name for herself in any way. None of the religious leaders had the chance to verify who He was from birth, and the ones that God chose to supernaturally reveal the news of the Messiah to were people the religious leaders would never pay attention to.
The glory of Jesus was further hidden in plain sight by the town He was raised in, for Nazareth was not an important town that people flocked to, neither did anyone expect much from the people who grew up there. As Jesus grew in stature with God and man, He was not an attractive individual, so no one really took notice of Him.
Think about how regular He must’ve seemed to His friends, neighbors, and family? He never drew attention to Himself as a child, yet no one noticed how He was perfect in every way! He never sinned a day in His life, yet people thought He was just like everybody else. So much so, that when He started His ministry, His own town rejected Him.
He was such a normal child that the gnostic Infancy Gospel of Thomas centuries later attempted to give His childhood alot of flair, and claimed to be a true account of it. Complete with dramatic stories of what alleged miracles He did as a child. The writer of this false gospel was so influenced by the pagan dramatization of their heroes, that the four true gospels weren’t enough, and many today even wonder what went on in Jesus’ childhood.
This is one important way that God displays His glory in the earth. He shows the things that have alot of worth in ordinary packages. It reminds me of a story I read about a world-class violin player that dressed up as a homeless man, and played on the subway in NYC. Tickets for his concerts are incredibly expensive, yet no one in the subway really paid attention to the free gift they were receiving because of the way he looked.
What is God doing in your life that causes you to be overlooked, even though it is glorious? It’s easier to say that you want to do things for the glory of God, than to actually live that way. Living for His glory will lead to seasons of normalcy in your life, where people won’t see what God is doing, yet it will still be glorious.
As you enjoy this time of year, don’t miss the opportunity to meditate on the incarnation of Jesus, the Son humbling Himself to take on human flesh. Consider the care and thoughtfulness of God in the design of the human body to even think of putting on that same type of body. The glory of God is easy to overlook. Think about the way God is declaring His glory through you, so that you’re encouraged to never give up on what He has prepared you to do.