Away with the manger

 By Kyle Borg - Posted at Gentle Reformation

Well, it’s that time of the year. The holidays are drawing near and with them some of the usual hustle and bustle. Cards are arriving in the mail, festive music floats through the air, lights are strung on gutters and railings, and ornaments are hung with care on trees. And, of course, adorning many front yards or placed on the table is the iconic nativity scene whose center is focused on a baby. A baby that is likely wrapped in sheets, and who sometimes has a halo or at other times is straining its neck beyond the natural capabilities of a newborn child. You don’t have to be a Christian to know that this baby represents Jesus Christ.

God becoming man — or what Christians call the incarnation — is at the heart of the faith we profess. Without it there is no salvation. In order to bring Holy God and sinful man together one must represent both. This is precisely what the eternal Son of God did when he took to himself a human nature. As Augustine so elegantly put it: “The Maker of man became man […] that he, Justice, might be condemned by the unjust; that he, the Teacher, might be scourged with whips; that he, the Vine, might be crowned with thorns; that he, the Foundation, might be suspended upon a cross; that Strength might be weakened; that he who makes well might be wounded; that Life might die.” There’s few truths as sublime but as practical as the incarnation. Or, as the Apostle wrote: “Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh” (1 Timothy 3:16).

It’s important how we understand the significance of the incarnation...