Merry Eternity and a Blessed Infinitude – St. Mark’s Corner – By Richard Watkins
Now that all of our Black Friday bumps and bruises and breaks and bleedings are mostly healed, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty. Christmas! The day of the birth of Jesus.
Well, not really “the day” of his birth.
December 25, though having been celebrated from some 1,800 years as the day Christ was born, probably isn’t accurate. There have been arguments made that put the month of His birth as September not December based on the fact that at that time of the year, shepherds would no longer tend to their flocks in the fields because of the weather. Some have tried to discern when Jesus was born by factoring in the birth of John the Baptist who would have been born six months prior to Jesus and by considering what Zechariah’s temple duties would have been at the time John was born. Those folks come up with the birth of Christ in the springtime. And, of course, there is the theory that December 25 was chosen as the day to celebrate the birth of Jesus in order to counteract the numerous other cultural celebrations that took place during the same time of year such as the Jewish festival of lights, the German yule festival, and the Roman festival of Saturnalia.
Nevertheless, let’s just go ahead and stick with December 25 as the day we celebrate his birth and the establishment of his mission to save the world.
Well, not “the establishment” of his mission.
Let’s face it. Jesus, as fully man, didn’t have the capacity to save the world the minute He was born. I mean, He was a baby after all. His body and brain needed to grow and develop. It wasn’t as though He was born and started teaching and preaching on the spot. He wasn’t Boss Baby.
Needless to say, it was going to take some time until His mission could be launched. What we know from the Bible is that Jesus began his ministry when He was 30 years old and ministered for 3 years before being crucified. So, at the very least, we can say that the commencement of His mission occurred some 30 years after He was born, but the formation of His mission occurred at birth.
Well, not “at birth” either.
What is often overlooked, or more so, simply incomprehensible, is that Jesus existed before He was born. John 1:1 stated as much when he wrote:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.”
To further solidify this argument, Genesis 1:26 proclaims:
“Then God said: Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness.”
Suffice it to say, “us” and “our” indicates more than one. So, if God was one of the “us/our”, who was/were the other(s)? He might have been referring to angels since we know that angels were created, in part, to be ministering spirits for mankind. But why would God elevate angels to be equal to Him when another of their duties was/is to worship God? To put angels on equal footing would be to minimize Himself.
The only other “entity” equal to God, is God Himself. So, if you take John 1 and Genesis 1 and put them together, what do you get? Jesus is the Word of God. Whatever God says, is in fact. When God says whatever he says, it is the fact that He is saying it, that makes it true. His Words. Spoken and unspoken. His very thought, inkling, notion makes it so (unlike declassifying top-secret documents).
“Let us make human beings in our image” means what He spoke was fact. Human beings were made in Their image. And who made it so? Jesus, the Word of God. God says it, and it becomes through Jesus.
It is also interesting to note, that the concept of time wasn’t established until God created the universe. How could a day be measured if there wasn’t a sunrise or sunset to distinguish day from night? So that would mean Jesus, as with God, would have always existed. No beginning; no end. Anything Jesus was going to do as fully man and fully God would have existed in perpetuity.
So, if Jesus always existed; no beginning, no end; and He was preordained to provide salvation to mankind, why did he have to born? Unfortunately, because of us. Our sins; our iniquities; our transgressions. His birth was the preparatory act for the ultimate culmination of His purpose. And while we, in our limited intellect, narrowed intelligence and finite understanding put a little extra emphasis on recognizing and celebrating His birth, in the grand scheme of things, shouldn’t we be more grateful of His overall existence; Born of the father before all ages; God from God; Light from Light; true God from true God; begotten, not made; consubstantial with the Father; forever and ever…? Amen.