December 25, 2017

Firstborn Son

Luke 2:1-7

She gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger. . . .

—  Luke 2:7

It’s so wonderful to hold a newborn baby in your arms. To look into the newly opened eyes, to feel the delicate skin, to hear the little squeaks. We pause here in wonder at Mary’s firstborn son, lying in a manger.

But as we admire the baby in the manger, we know that he has to grow up. It’s not a baby who “will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Ever­lasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). It’s not a baby who will take on the religious establishment and the Roman caesar and Satan and sin and death. It’s not a baby who will die for our sake on a cross. It’s not a baby who will then rise from the tomb, ascend to heaven, and take his seat at the Father’s right hand to reign.

That sweet little newborn will grow up and overturn the power structures of the world. Though he is almighty God, he becomes a helpless infant. Instead of royal robes he wears strips of cloth. Instead of a warrior surrounded by an army, he is attended by nobodies. The thunder of his authority is muted into the cries of a child.

But this helpless baby is a powerful threat because he is a promise that the days of the powerful are numbered.

Let’s marvel that in this little bundle lies the power that will change our lives—and this world—forever.

“O come, let us adore him, Christ, the Lord!”

All glory to you, great God and Lord, for the gift of your firstborn Son, Jesus Christ, whom you sent to save us. Amen and Amen!

About the author — Thea Leunk

Thea Nyhoff Leunk has been a high school English teacher, a director of Christian education, a pastor of discipleship, and a regional coach for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. She is currently the senior pastor at Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Thea has also written courses for teens and young adults on world religions, Christian faith traditions, and science and the Bible. She and her husband have three adult children.

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