A baby in a manger—what a little picture for such an immense person! Every Christmas we gaze in awe at a simple crèche and marvel at the miracle of the incarnation of the Son of God. Those tiny fingers belie the supreme power the person Himself not only possesses, but has already exercised. Even in His infancy Jesus embodied the fullness of the Godhead. The Son of God, “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:6–7 ESV). Such deep humility clothes infinite majesty. No matter how often we contemplate this incomprehensible wonder, we never really fathom the incarnation completely. Still, that should never keep us from meditating on its tremendous significance.
He Redeemed Us
The prophet Isaiah penned the following declaration:
Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer,
who formed you from the womb:
“I am the LORD, who made all things,
who alone stretched out the heavens,
who spread out the earth by myself, . . . (Isaiah 44:24)
The Hebrew word for “Redeemer” (go’el) means “Kinsman-Redeemer”—the same title used to identify Boaz’s relationship to Naomi and Ruth (Ruth 2:20). This Redeemer belongs to family and seeks to deliver family members from their dire circumstances. Scripture refers to Jesus with the title Son of Man, because His incarnation makes him a member of humanity. Therefore, the writer of Hebrews argues that Jesus fulfills Psalm 8 as the chief representative of mankind (Hebrews 2:6–9). Now, we like Job can cry out, “I know that my Kinsman-Redeemer [go’el] lives!” (Job 19:25). Jesus is family—He is our Kinsman-Redeemer.
The apostle Paul informs us that Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the law by being crucified at Calvary (Galatians 3:13). The same apostle wrote to Titus that Jesus redeemed us so that we might be His people, serving Him with good works (Titus 2:14). By God’s grace gift, Jesus purchased our redemption at the cost of His own life so that we might be forgiven and clothed with the righteousness of God by faith (Romans 3:23–26). This, too, belongs as part of the Christmas story.
He Formed Us
As Former, our Kinsman-Redeemer formed each one of us in our mother’s womb. Oh, how that just blows our minds!—the baby in the manger is the One who formed us from conception to birth. We echo David’s thoughts in Psalm 139:6, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me.”
13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:13–16)
Yes, the psalmist describes the work of the pre-incarnate Jesus, the Son of God Himself. The Creator of all things also formed each one of us—our bones, our flesh, our circulatory and respiratory systems, our lives. That’s why we can trust Him when we find we were born with a different design—whether it be a tiny hole in our heart or an undeveloped arm or eyes that cannot see. No one knows us better than He. Men mighty refer to our difference as a defect, but it is there by our Creator’s design for His glory.
He Created Everything
Lastly, Isaiah focuses on the fact that our Kinsman-Redeemer (Yahweh Himself, the Son of God), made the heavens and the earth by Himself. The One who formed us in our mother’s womb had already created the heavens and the earth, and all that is in them. “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3). Human beings still cannot comprehend the immensity of the created universe. Our space telescopes peer out, out, out into the fathomless regions of interstellar space without finding the end. The stars are innumerable—the pre-incarnate Jesus made them all and knows each one as intimately as He knows each one of us whom He has formed inside our mother’s body.
Look again upon that baby in the manger—behold His humanity. In His deity, however, He spoke all things into existence “by the breath of his mouth” (Psalm 33:6). The baby’s tiny arms may stretch out for His mother, but He Himself stretched out the heavens and spread out the earth.
This Christmas pause to consider the baby Jesus. He came to be our Kinsman-Redeemer. His humanity, by which He is our Kinsman, begins as ours began—as an baby. He who lay in the manger as an infant forms us in our mother’s womb. His own experience in His mother’s womb informs the care He bestows on us as He forms us and knits our parts together. Observe the baby’s gentle breathing—His breath sweet to His mother. That baby, helpless in the humility of humanness, houses the pre-incarnate Son of God, Creator of heavens and earth by His breath. No wonder even the angels marvel. May we keep Him at the center of all our lives—not just at Christmas.