It seems Christmas is the season of questions. What will we buy for friends and family members who have everything? Which relatives will we visit and when? What cookies will we bake (and when will we have time)? Where will we hold the office Christmas party? What will we say in our Christmas letter and cards? How big should the tree be? Who will keep uncle Jack from drinking too much on Christmas eve? And so on and so on.
There is one question, however, that will define our Christmas – one query that transcends all others. In the 11th century, it was asked by St. Anselm of Canterbury in this way: Cur Deus Homo? Simply translated, ‘Why did God become man?’
Everything we believe about Christmas hinges on how we answer that question for ourselves. It is a very personal question and it demands an equally personal answer. It may sound like a theological inquiry, and in one sense it is certainly is. But the answer we will each give will bear witness to our understanding of the true miracle of Christmas.
The incarnation – God taking on flesh as one of us – is the single greatest miracle humanity has ever experienced. It is unequalled in its demonstration of unconditional love. It is the answer to every question of the problem of evil and the love and sovereignty of God. It testifies to the heinous nature of sin and the extent to which our Creator God goes to save us from its deadly consequences.
The word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory. The reason that Christmas changes everything is because God turned creation upside down by visiting it as one of its own. He assumed our sin, bore our guilt and took up the totality of our brokenness. He who knew no sin became sin for us. And nothing will ever be the same.
This Christmas everyone will decide how they will answer this question. Many will choose to ignore the manger and never know or marvel at this profound miracle. Many more will come for an annual visit but see it as an historical event that means little to them, or a myth that makes for nice carols and TV movies. A growing group of angry voices will even ridicule its mention, believing that if they can silence the story they will empty it of its power.
How about you? This Christmas how will you answer that question? My prayer is that your journey to the manger will overwhelm you with the staggering reality that in one small, tiny baby, God declared that He has loved you with an everlasting love, that He is the ‘hound of heaven’ and His love will never let you go. Christmas is your assurance that from the creation of the world God knew you, chose you, loved you, redeemed you and wants to spend every second of every day with you.
God is the eternal lover of your soul, and if you need evidence that His love is beyond all comprehension, then see again the miracle of God becoming one of us in the form of the babe of Bethlehem. Let it overwhelm you, bring you to your knees, fill your heart with joy and wash over you with the peace that passes all understanding. This Christmas can be like none you have ever known, if you will let this miracle find its way deep into your spirit.
Cur Deus Homo? There is only one true answer – He did it for you, you are that precious to Him. Oh come, let us adore Him!