The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. (NLT)
God really couldn’t win. He could have come into the world as some regal figure throwing his weight around. But then the common people would have run a mile and felt there was nothing in it for them. He could have come as some fully formed scholar whose intellect dazzled and intimidated others. But then relationship with God would have become limited to those with the brain power to get his message. He could have come as a smooth talking marketing professional who would use sophisticated means of getting his message across. But then he might have been suspected of being phoney, and besides, what about all those who have no sophistication about them?
So God came as a baby and still the people didn’t get it. Scholars and devout individuals had been praying for centuries for the Messiah to come. They had studied the scriptures to ascertain when and where. Messiah expectation was an industry! And yet when the Messiah did come he was not recognised. Things like mangers and shepherds and animal shelters put people off the scent.
And even when Jesus grew up and made his claims to be the Messiah, people generally rejected him. He wasn’t the type of Messiah they expected or wanted. Such is the folly and fickleness of people who want God to come to them, but on their own terms. Christmas reminds us that God is truly with us. Christmas also challenges us to ask ourselves if we recognise him when we see him.