This is how Jesus the Messiah was born.
Jesus birth story is truly epic. So epic that you don’t need me to retell it because it’s the most famous birth story ever told.
Stories are one of the most important elements of the human experience because they “emotionalize information.”
It’s one thing to say that “God became a man.” It’s another thing to tell the Christmas story.
I could say, “God loves you” or I could tell you the story of God becoming a person, like you.
The Christmas story is intended to touch us at a very deep and emotional level. For me, this year, the “emotionalized” truth of Jesus birth story is the value and worth of my personhood that quiets the dehumanizing voice of my self-contempt.
One of the most troubling and painful realities of our human brokenness is the hidden (and many times not-so-hidden) negative core beliefs about ourselves. We all, in varying degrees, are battling self-contempt. For some it’s the perfectionistic inner critic telling you that you aren’t enough. For others there are dominating thoughts of never measuring up to the moving target of “success.” However it’s expressed in you, it is important to remember that your self-contempt is dehumanizing. Self-contempt is self-dehumanization. Furthermore, self-inflicted hate is just as dangerous and deadly (if not more so) as the hatred and dehumanization you may have experienced from the abusive hands or mouth of another. We need hope and healing from this deadly poison.
God’s love and compassion for us is not only felt in the death and resurrection of Christ, but also in His humble birth. In the human experience of Christ, God is re-humanizing the parts of our souls that have been dehumanized by our sinful fear, shame and guilt. Jesus’ birth story validates His personhood and it shows that He values ours. In the Incarnation, God is inviting us to agree with Him about ourselves. He came into the world just like you and me, descending out of the womb of a woman. He had family of origin issues just like you and me and they interrupted his life and ministry. He had to navigate relational drama just like you and me and it was painful for him. But unlike you and me, in the face of the fear, shame, and guilt of humanity, Jesus never disagreed with his Father about himself. When the devil tempted him to doubt that he was truly loved, HE TRUSTED (Matt 4:3). Jesus didn’t deal with self-contempt like you and me. He perfectly trusted that when the Father said “I love you and you bring me great joy,” it was actually true (Matt 3:17). I know he trusted perfectly because He was divine, but I wonder if He trusted, in part, because He knew the EPIC nature of his birth story and he was emotionally affected by it.
As you consider The Story again this Christmas, I pray that you are able to emotionalize (in your body) the truth that you are a remarkable person, wondrously made, valuable, and worthy of love. I trust that as the re-humanizing love of Christ made known at his birth will shine light into every dark corner of your self-contempt.