So, I’ve got these four kids. The youngest is Rory. He LOVES Batman. His birthday is in February, which means he has to watch every other member of our family have their birthdays before his comes back around. For the last eight months, at least once every other day, I’ve heard some variation of the following: “For my burfday I want Batman…” He has covered it all — Legos, Play-Doh, lunchboxes, movies, action figures, toothbrushes. I would love to be exaggerating here, because I am gifted in that arena, but for once I am dead serious. I bet you can imagine his Christmas list.
Last weekend he spent the night with some family and watched a Minecraft video. He came home and dared to say, “I hate Batman. For my burfday I want…” I literally whipped my head around and said in the most mom voice there ever has been, “NEVER SAY THAT AGAIN.” I do not care about Batman —honestly, not impressed. I was into Barbies. However, I am am done christmas shopping, family is done shopping and a good number of things for our little Batman hater are Batman related. In true four-year-old fashion, Rory had the audacity to change his mind, to set his sights on new and better things.
You might be wondering what this has to do with Jesus. At the Sunnyvale campus, David brought a great message about the humanity of Jesus. None of it was new information for me. It’s Christmas, I work at a church, attend seminary — I know the story. But as I sat there, I thought about what Jesus did. He came to earth to be with us. He laid aside his very right to be all-knowing, all-powerful, all-places and became man. And not even an impressive man. He was born to a carpenter, never left his home country, went fairly unnoticed for most of his life. The whole time he was man, he was God. And no one even knew.
Keep going in his story, and it takes you to the cross, where he was beaten and killed for sins he did not commit. God the entire time. He came to be like us, for us, giving up everything to be with us. I have asked myself 100-plus times why. Why would he leave heaven? Why would he give up his access to his deity and his divinity? Surely there was another way! I would never leave my house if I didn’t have to, and my kitchen is bursting with clutter and dirty dishes. Far from heaven, but I like it here. Jesus giving up everything is crazy to me.
Matthew 1:22–23 tells us, “All this happened to make clear the full meaning of what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will be pregnant. She will have a son, and they will name him Immanuel.’ This name means “God is with us.”
God had a plan, and it included being with us as Jesus. And not once did he change his mind. Not when he had to give up equality with God, not when he was cold, or hungry, or tempted by sin. His mind was not changed when he was scorned, ignored, mocked, made out to be a liar. He never faltered in his decision because he was determined to be God with us.
Rory is getting Batman stuff for Christmas, but Christmas is not about Batman or presents or family. Christmas is the celebration that, just as he promised, God became man, took on the form of a servant and made himself nothing. He did all this so he could be with us. With me. With you. Next year, Rory will want something new for Christmas, but the story of Jesus will the same, unchanging in his plan to be for us and with us, for our benefit and his glory.