We made it out to to a Christmas Eve service last night at Emmaus Road Covenant Church--just down the road from us. The message touched on something I've been thinking of lately: the scandal of Christmas. It's something difficult to wrap my mind around. God came to earth, clothed in human flesh, for the sole purpose of expressing His never-ending, never-changing love for us. The Creator of all the universe, the King of kings, was born not in a palace or even a temple of the gods. His parents weren't royalty or even of any importance. His lineage was of the line of King David, yes, but it also contained a prostitute, a incestuous relationship, a Moabite (who tainted the bloodline) and plenty of murderers and other sinners.
The King of kings was instead born in a barn (most likely a dark, dank cave) to unwed parents. He was surrounded by animals, his bed was a feed trough and he was miles away from home. His heavenly birth announcement wasn't sent to the governing officials or the elite. It went to shepherds out in the field in the middle of the night.
As the speaker at church last night made the point: the Light of the world came into a lightless cave, but the cave could not contain the Light (just as the Easter tomb cold not contain the Light).
In every major religion, the gods are untouchable. But on Christmas we celebrate that God came to earth to walk among us, to be one of us. He came in poverty, in an occupied nation, amidst suffering people. He would know our struggles and pains.
That is our God. That is Christmas. A celebration, a mystery, a scandal.