Twice I’ve had the honour of having little babies at Christmas time. Those were special days that I cherish in memory, as it gave me a sweeter understanding of Mary’s plight. I also remember savouring deeply each coo and smirk my soft little babies made as I contemplated the absurdity of a baby God.
A long-awaited Prophet, Priest and King in the form of a delicate and defenceless babe.
God would have to be sovereign to do it that way. He’d have to be intricately involved in every detail of every nuance of this story for it to go well. Because a teenage mother whose unplanned pregnancy made her the scourge of her community isn’t exactly the best case scenario for the flourishing of a saviour. Not many of us would choose that path or write that cosmic story.
At the same time the plan is brilliant. Isn’t it?
The weakness of that King revealed God’s upside down Kingdom. It not being one made up of heavy-hitters or high achievers. The lowly, defenceless and diseased would be what this Kingdom consists of. It’s perfect. His little helpless presence is a picture into the wisdom and stature of his Father.
The Son of God putting on flesh and becoming what He created in order to show perfect mercy. Not just mercy. But perfect mercy.
Because only a good Prophet proclaims truth in love, humbly calling the sinner out of the dark and into the light. A good priest mediates for the people with deep understanding of their turmoil within. A good King will lead others by personal sacrifices, not afraid to get in the dirt for the sake of others.
When Christ was born in a manger, it was the beginning of a perfect, blameless and yet acutely challenging life. He’s not a Prophet, Priest or King who doesn’t know and understand our mortal pains and sufferings. He knows them intimately. He’s the best kind of Saviour. The only kind that makes any sense.
The absurdity of it all remains…but for different reasons now. I no longer wonder it happened this way.
Now I’m gripped that He would do it at all. I’m stirred with gratitude for the sacrifice. It’s shocking, not because it’s a strange story, but because our King has come and He’s come for us. For the sick, sad sinner. For me.
Christmas comes each year beaming good hope.
And not just a good hope for the well, affluent and cheerful. It’s for us. For the ones hurting, lonely and sick with sin. It’s not about perfectly posed smiling faces sitting on Santa’s knee or precisely planned activities. As lovely as all that is. When we pull away all the happy wrapping, Christmas is a day of remembrance. Remembering a cold night in a barn. A night with very little fan-fair and a great deal of looming war.
But this is exactly why we sing. We sing rhythms of remembrance and we ought to sing them with joy over that great hope.
I believe Mary’s song is the best Christmas song of them all. She perfectly express’s all the richness of God’s upside down Kingdom in Christ’s coming. So lets read and remember that an immaculate Prophet, Priest and King came down to us as a baby that first Christmas so long ago.
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”