Friday, December 21, 2007

Christ-Centered Christmas

One of the most helpful ways for me to focus my heart and mind on Christ during the Christmas season is to read what others have written on the miracle of the incarnation. Below is a thoughtful reflection on the incarnation  that I recently came across written by Thomas Watson (1600-1679):

"And thus it was that when the fulness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And thus it came about that He who had created this world of ours descended into it, and made Himself one of His own earthly creatures, and lived all His appointed time on earth in all the emptiness and limitation and dependence and subjection that was involved in His great work which he had undertaken to perform for His Father. For it is wholly true and it is wholly due to Him that it should be told us concerning our Saviour that He made Himself of no reputation. The whole heavens and the whole earth had all resounded with His great reputation as soon as He had finished the formation of the heavens and the earth and all the host of them. On the seventh day of creation the Son of God ended His great work which He had created and made, and He blessed the seventh day and sanctified it. And on that first Sabbath day all the morning stars sang together before Him, and all the sons of God shouted for joy in His presence. But when the predestinated time for the Son's humiliation and for our salvation came He arose and descended down from His Father's house and left all His heavenly renown and reputation behind Him. And then, as the great prologue has it, He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. How His own received Him, and what entertainment He had at their hands, we read with unspeakable shame and pain on every page of the four Gospels. At the same time all that was no surprise to Him; neither did the reception that He received on this earth take Him at all unawares. From the beginning he had foreseen it all, and had prepared Himself for it all. 'Lo, I come. In the volume of the book it is all written of Me.' He means that such things as these were written of Him: such awful things as these: 'I am a worm, and no man. I am a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see me laugh me to scorn. They shoot out the lip, they shake the head.' The Son of God foresaw Himself as in a glass in that awful twenty-second Psalm. Again, this was written, and He had often read it: 'He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him there is no beauty that we should desire Him.' And again, He foresaw that all this also would be written concerning Him, and He had often in anticipation read it. 'Then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns and put it on His head. And they put on Him a purple robe, and bowed the knee, and said, Hail! King of the Jews. And they smote Him in His face with their hands.' Yes, indeed: the Eternal Son, the Maker of the heavens and the earth, made Himself of no reputation! And that one word, of no reputation, makes us sinful men to stop and think. For, how we all live and labour for a reputation! How we are all puffed up with our reputation when it comes to us! And how we are all cast down when our reputation departs from us." --Thomas Watson
(HT: Rebecca Stark)

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