And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. Luke 2:6-7
Familiar words to many, they may even conjure sentimental images in our minds of baby Jesus laying no cozy hay, no crying he makes. Notwithstanding the traditional carol, the baby almost certainly did cry. And that is a great point to be made about the birth of Jesus – which is, the coming of God into the world. The eternal, ineffable, untouchable, transcendent, unsearchable God entered as a human baby. And a very human baby he was.
It the story gets to familiar for us we’ll forget just how amazing this is. And just how scandalous it was for ancient Greeks and how it still is for our Muslim friends. How can God – who is so far above and beyond us – wear diapers and lay in the hay?
But that is exactly what is at the heart of Advent, Christmas, and the Gospel hope. That God has come and put his clean feet on the dirty ground, so to speak. He of course does it to rescue his people. Becoming as human as we are, gives him the avenue to become saviour to human beings. It is also God’s great approval of this world, a great acting out of his first assessment of the world he made.
The world is ‘very good’ indeed. And God has loved it so much that he has entered it, diapers and all.