Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Restrained Glory

The thing that amazes me the most about Christmas is not the world's spirit of giving or the childhood focus on lights, trees and ornaments; or even the minute details of the Christmas story. What astounds me most is the fact that the God of the universe, creator of heaven and earth, subjected himself to the limitations of human functioning - God becoming a man.

My wife and I recently welcomed our fourth child and second son into the world. He will celebrate his first Christmas at the age of 2-months-old. When I look at him, I see him through the eyes of a proud father who believes in his limitless potential. However, that potential is locked into a body that in itself, does have limitations. He currently depends on us, his parents, to feed, change, guide and protect him. The purpose that God has set in him is constrained in a fragile body and is to be stewarded by finite parents. I don't know if we are raising a missionary to a foreign country or a future president of the United States; but I do know, whatever his destiny is, is locked into a frame and a flesh that needs to be taken care of.

I believe that it is the same with Christ. He always was and always will be God; yet He was born into a body that hungered, thirsted and felt pain. The God that owns all of creation was born into meager and poverty stricken circumstances, entrusted to a man and woman who held the responsibility of caring for the Savior of the world. God in the flesh limited himself for the purpose of doing what He came to earth to do.

This is such a deep mystery. It's an unimaginable conundrum. God becoming flesh. Divinity entering mortality. That which is infinite restraining Himself by entering a human body.

"And by common confession great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, was vindicated in the Spirit, beheld by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory." 1 Timothy 3:16

So what do we do with this? How do we stand in the face of something so unconceivable and still live out the lesson that God teaches us through the incarnation? Here's my conclusion: sometimes, glorious gifts come in packages of restraint and it's our responsibility to focus on the purpose of the gift. Christ was wrapped in flesh for the sole purpose of dying for the salvation of the world. I think God believed the salvation of the world outweighed the limitations of restraining Christ in a body of flesh.

How are we viewing the gifts in our lives? Do we view pain as simply that, a nuisance and hindrance? Or do we look at the purposes underneath, seeing them as blessings being restrained until the appropriate time? God became man and limited himself for a time because He had a purpose in mind. Let us look beyond our own limitations and look toward our own God given purpose in life.

Copyright © 2013 Garrett Drew Ellis. Used by permission.

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