Jesus

Jesus as a Kid

 When it comes to Jesus’ actual childhood we don’t know much. We have to accounts of Jesus’ birth and then most of the Gospels skip to Jesus’ ministry, which probably started around the age of 30. That means we don’t know much about Jesus’ life on this earth. However, we do get some glimpses. And today we’re going to look at some of those glimpses. First a story that takes place very closely after Jesus’ birth and then a story that takes place when Jesus is your age, twelve. Both of these stories are actually in the same book of the Bible so we won’t have to do much flipping around! Please get your Bibles and turn to Luke.

When we studied Jesus’ birth we saw how Matthew and Luke had slightly different narratives, with Matthew emphasizing Joseph’s perspective and then giving us the tale of the Wise Men, while Luke gives us Mary’s perspective and the tale of angels and shepherds. This story we’re going to look at takes place after Jesus’s birth in Luke but before the story of the Wise Men in Matthew. Because if you may recall, the Wise Men did not show up until Jesus was a toddler—probably around two. So it wasn’t until Jesus was about two years old that they fled to Egypt. Up until that point it seems they were living in Bethlehem.

However, Mary and Joseph were good and righteous Jewish people who followed the law, and that means that they would every year travel to the temple for different events and celebrations. Today’s stories are going to revolve around one of those trips. Someone please read Luke 2:21-24.

21 After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

22 When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), 24 and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

So Jesus is circumcised according to the Law of Moses. That didn’t have to happen at the Temple, I don’t think. It could happen in Bethlehem, where he was born, since circumcision took place days after the baby was born. No one wants to travel with a baby that young!

But Mary and Joseph were required to bring him to the Temple after that for all first born males were required to undergo a ritual purification to dedicate them to the Lord. I believe this took place one month after the birth. Which still sucks to travel with a baby that small. I do not envy Mary. First she had to travel while pregnant and now she has to travel with this tiny little baby!

We talked about before that the Temple is not quite like a Church. Today you can go to church wherever you live—we don’t have to travel to Israel or Rome to say we’re visiting the actual church. We also like to say things like “The church is not a place but the people.” Remember the Temple was not like that. There was only one Temple, and it was viewed as God’s home on this earth. No other building could be the Temple.

Though it’s important to remember that this is the Second Temple. The first—the Temple of Solomon—was destroyed by the Babylonians. This would be the Temple built during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. But they built it in the exact same location and according to the same specifications as the original Temple.

The Temple was a critical part of ancient Jewish life. And there were certain things, according to the Law, that you could *only* do at the Temple, like make sacrifices. As such there were certain feasts and religious events that you had to travel to Jerusalem to celebrate, no matter where you lived. So whether Mary and Joseph were living in Bethlehem or Galilea they would have to travel to Jerusalem at least three times a year to celebrate the three major Feasts that required worship at the Temple: the Feast of Unleavened Bread—which we know as Passover, the Feast of Weeks—which is also called Shavout, and the Feast of Booths—which is also called Sukkoth. We’re going to see this a lot in the New Testament, how Jesus has to travel to Jerusalem for one of these three feasts, and he even travels to the Temple one time for Hannakuh, but that’s not considered a big deal holiday so you weren’t required to travel to the Temple for that though you could. It was like an optional holiday.

So Mary and Joseph travel with baby Jesus to the Temple to dedicate him to God and make the appropriate sacrifices according to Biblical law.

Someone please read Luke 2:25-35.

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon;[a] this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.[b27 Guided by the Spirit, Simeon[c] came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, 28 Simeon[d] took him in his arms and praised God, saying,

29 “Master, now you are dismissing your servant[e] in peace,
    according to your word;
30 for my eyes have seen your salvation,
31     which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles
    and for glory to your people Israel.”

33 And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 34 Then Simeon[f] blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed 35 so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

While Mary and Joseph are at the Temple trying to do their religious duty to dedicate Jesus to God, they run into a really old man named Simeon. Apparently Simeon had been told by God that before he died he would see the Messiah.

As soon as Simeon lays eyes on Jesus he knows who he is. No one has to tell him. He can just see it in him! He takes Jesus into his arm and praises God. And one of the amazing things, is that Simeon in his prayer to God states that he knows that Jesus is not just for the Jewish people but for everyone—a light for the revelation to the Gentiles, it says.

We’ve talked about before how Luke was writing his Gospel for the Gentiles—the Greeks and the Romans and everyone non-Jewish. So it makes sense that he includes this important bit. Because you know what? Not every Jewish person realized that. And that’s because they are God’s chosen people, so they assumed the Messiah is only for them. We’re going to see in this in a couple of stories. And it’s true that Jesus came back for Jewish people first—to reach them first—that’s why all of his ministry was in Israel with Jewish people and most of his early followers were Jewish. But he also came for the rest of us—the Gentiles, the non-Jewish people—and Simeon realized that.

Mary and Joseph are amazed by Simeon’s words but he’s not done yet. Next he says that Jesus will be responsible for the fall and rise of many people in Israel and that many people’s innermost thoughts will be revealed. We’re going to see over and over this is true—as we see how people respond to Jesus during his ministry. But then he ends by telling Mary that a sword will pierce her own soul.

And that’s true too. Because Mary outlives Jesus and there is nothing more painful and horrible for a parent than to outlive their own child. That is likely what Simeon’s prophesy here is alluding too.

And Simeon is not the only person they run into at the Temple! Someone please read Luke 2:36-38.

36 There was also a prophet, Anna[a] the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child[b] to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

While in the Temple they run into a woman named Anna. She is very old and a widow, and it seems she spent most of her time in the Temple, fasting and praying. And the Bible calls her a prophet.

This is a small encounter, in terms of how many verses is spent on this but she too recognized Jesus and praised God and began to tell everyone how Jesus was going to be the redemption of everyone. She knew by looking at him, just like Simeon and she spread that word to everyone she could.

Anna is a prophet. It says so right there in verse 36. You know there are still people in this world today, Christians, who say that women can’t be prophets. That they can’t spread the word of God without a man overseeing them. That women are less. But Anna shows us this is not true. She had no husband. She was a prophet in her own right, and she told everyone she could about Jesus and how he would be the salvation of them all.

So these two encounters happened when Jesus was little little, like a month or two old. But this is certainly not the last time Jesus would travel to the Temple, and Luke doesn’t skip from here to Jesus being a full grown adult. His next story is about Jesus when he is twelve years old.

Jesus—God incarnate walking this earth—as a tween.

So let’s look at that story.

Someone please read Luke 2:41-45.

41 Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. 43 When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. 44 Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day’s journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him.

Every year Mary and Joseph go to the Temple for Passover. They probably go for the other two feasts I mentioned as well—though maybe not Mary and all the kids. But the whole family definitely goes for Passover. And Jesus wasn’t an only child. We’ve talked about this before, but he had several siblings. The Bible names his brothers as James, Joses, Judas, and Simon—not to be confused with any of the disciples of the same name. Those were apparently really popular names in Jesus’s day. The Bible also says he has sisters—plural—but not how many. So he had at least two, so Mary at least in the end had seven kids. Maybe more. Now all of those kids may not have been born for this story, but I bet a handful of them were.

So going to Jerusalem for Passover is like a cross-country road trip with a bunch of cranky kids in the car, except there’s no car. You’re walking.

However, they would be traveling in a large group. Because everyone went to this festival—everyone in Nazareth—where they lived—who was Jewish and able, would be traveling to Jerusalem for Passover. So Mary and Joseph would be traveling with a lot of extended family members and neighbors, and I bet they all relied on each other to keep an eye on the kids during this journey.

And Jesus was the oldest of Mary’s kids. I know some of you are the oldest, and I bet you’ve experienced situations where your parents pay less attention to you because they know you have it handled. They can trust a 12 year old to stay with the group and walk the right direction. You cannot trust a three-year-old to do this. So Mary was probably chasing after her little kids and trusting Jesus would follow the group.

And he did, all the way to Jerusalem, no problem. There was just a problem when they were going back.

On the way back from Passover, on their way to Galilea it’s been a whole day and suddenly Mary and Joseph realized they haven’t seen Jesus, all day. They start asking around and well, no one has seen Jesus. How did this happen? How did they not know where their 12 year old was? Well like I said Mary was probably paying attention to the little kids. But often when people traveled in groups like this, the women and children would travel together and the men would travel together. So they were like one big traveling group segregated by gender.

Jesus as a twelve-year-old could feasibily be in every group, because as tweens you guys are on the cusp of becoming adults but still kids. So Mary probably thought Jesus was traveling with the men—escaping all the little kids and traveling with his dad. Joseph probably thought Jesus was with the women and children helping Mary corral all the younger kids.

But he was not. Jesus wasn’t there at all.

At this point, Mary and Joseph are probably freaking out. So they turn around and head back to the Temple.

Someone please read Luke 2:46-50.

46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents[a] saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.” 49 He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”[b50 But they did not understand what he said to them.

It takes three days for Mary and Joseph to find Jesus. Now at least one of those days is going to be a travel day back—since they were a day away when they realized he was gone. And it’s not like they have cell phones and can just call him.  I bet the other part of the time was going back to the person they had been staying with and looking for Jesus there and at all the surrounding places. Any place they might have visited. They don’t initially think he’ll be at the Temple, but after looking for two days and being at their wits end they go to the Temple.

And that’s where they find him, sitting with all the rabbis and teachers and religious scholarly types discussing the Scriptures. He’s listening to them and asking them questions and these old scholarly men are amazed at the level of understanding this kid seems to have of the Bible.

Mary is understandably furious. She has been looking for Jesus for days. He was supposed to go back with them. Surely he knew he was supposed to go back with him. I doubt their leaving Jerusalem was a surprise and she’s like “Jesus, what the heck? Are you trying to give me a heart attack? We’ve torn this city apart looking for you?”

And Jesus just looks at her and is like “Why? Surely you would know I’d be at my Father’s house.” Because remember the Temple is viewed as God’s actual house, his home, on the planet earth, and Jesus’ is God’s son. So that’s what he means here.

It says Mary and Joseph do not understand his response.

There’s a couple of things I want to talk about here. Jesus undoubtedly knew what day he was supposed to leave Jerusalem. He knew he was expected to go home. But he didn’t. He stayed and went to the Temple, causing his parents to freak out. Also back in my day, Jesus’s response to Mary here would have been called “back-talk” and many 20th century parents would punish their kids for ever responding like this to them.

Jesus didn’t go home when he was supposed to and he arguably “back-talked.” So my question to you is: did Jesus sin?

[Let them think about it for a minute and give their thoughts/answers]

We know Biblically that Jesus was perfect and sinless. The New Testament proclaims this over and over again, that Jesus was perfect and committed no sins. And yet here we have 12-year-old Jesus disobeying possibly a direct order from his parents but at least an expectation and then back-talking to Mary with his “duh Mom, of course I’d be here.” Is that not sin?

Well…is it a sin to disobey your parents?

[Let them answer]

The answer is yes and no. Let’s flip back to the 10 commandments. Someone please read Exodus 20:12.

12 Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

Sometimes when we talk about this verse to little kids we transliterate it as “Obey your mom and dad” but it’s important to realize that that’s not what this verse says, it says “honor.”

Honor. What does it mean to honor someone? And how is that different from obedience? Any ideas?

[Let them answer]

Obedience simply means doing what your parents tell you. To honor your parents is to hold them in respect. But respecting your parents doesn’t always mean obeying them. But a lot of the time, it does. And this is where it gets confusing.

If your parents tell you to do something is wrong and against God, you do not and should not obey them. For most of you this will never be the case. But some kids have abusive parents, who use them and abuse them. Their parents abuse the trust a child has of their parents and ask them to do things that are dangerous or illegal or stupid.

Most parents are not abusive. But some are.

But even if your parents are not abusive and they love you, and they follow God, we’re all sinners. We all sometimes do things wrong. Sometimes your parents do things wrong. And that’s okay, they’re human. But sometimes you’ll have to discern especially as you get older and become an adult and parent yourself, where that line is between obedience to them and doing what is best for God and your family.

I will say 99% of the time, it’s generally a good idea to obey your parents. Your parents rules and orders come from a lot of life experience that you don’t have. They’re setting down rules to keep you from making their mistakes or from doing things that could harm yourself. Really little kids don’t understand why they just can’t run into the street. That’s why parents make them hold their hands when they’re walking on sidewalks or crossing the street. Because little kids don’t understand or know that cars can hit or kill them. But parents do. That’s why parents make those rules.

And that’s why parents make the rules you have. Whatever they are! Maybe you think having a bed time is really unfair, but your parents have read the studies that show that tweens and teens really need nine to ten hours of sleep a night for their brains to develop. So you think the rule is unfair but your parents know this rule is for your best.

But sometimes parents make a judgement or a rule that isn’t fair or right—or that you have to break to love your neighbor properly. Like I said that’s going to be literally 1% or less of the time when you’re a kid but as you get older and become more independent that becomes more and more. [Give an example if you have one of something from your own teenager years or young adult hood where you struggled with a rule your parents gave that wasn’t actually fair or right, or a time where your parents were actually in the wrong towards you.]

So 99% of the time we should be obeying our parents, but occasionally maybe we can’t. And that’s not a sin. Jesus did not sin by disobeying his parents. Because he still honored them.

What does it mean to honor someone?

[Let them answer]

The definition of honor is to regard with great respect or great esteem. You should respect your parents greatly. They do more than you can even know to raise you, they sacrifice things they would rather do to be there for you. Sacrifice things they would rather have to buy you things. Sacrifice their mental sanity sometimes when you try to drive them insane! Our parents do a lot of for us, and because of this we should honor and respect them greatly.

That means we probably shouldn’t yell at our parents. We should always take their advice and thoughts seriously. We should realize they have so much more experience than us and therefore we should give their rules and advice greater weight even if we don’t understand it.

If you think your parents are wrong and disagree with them? You probably shouldn’t scream and yell at them. That is not respectful to them and it won’t help your case. [Example: When I was in Middle School Harry Potter became popular. And Christian parents who hadn’t read it were afraid of it. They thought the books were going to lead us down a path of darkness. My parents knew I read Harry Potter and then they heard at church how Harry Potter was evil. So one day after church they came to me and said I wasn’t allowed to read Harry Potter anymore.

I could have yelled and screamed at them. I could have told them they were mean and unfair and stupid. Because they were wrong. They were very wrong. Harry Potter is not evil. It’s a book. And I knew that. I may have only been 12 but I knew they were wrong. Instead I calmly asked if they could explain to me why I wasn’t allowed to read it anymore. And then we had an actual conversation. No yelling. No screaming. And I pointed out to them how I read other books with the same themes and magic and that they hadn’t forbidden those, and how my parents also read and enjoyed those books. And my parents realized that they were wrong. And they said I could keep reading Harry Potter. With the caveat that I couldn’t read it at church. And that was fair.

Because I respected my parents and had a respectful conversation, we were able to have a real discussion and get to the root of the issue.

On the other hand, what if they said I couldn’t read it at all? Maybe the way to honor them would be that while I was under their roof to obey this silly rule. I have a friend who as long as she was under her parent’s roof she didn’t read Harry Potter. So she didn’t read it until she moved out, because she knew it was her parents house and her parents rules. That was how she respected and honored her parents.]

There are a lot of ways we can honor our parents. And generally 99% of the time that means obeying them. But sometimes not obeying them is not the wrong thing to do. Just like Jesus here. He wanted to stay in his ultimate Father’s house and discuss the Scriptures. There is nothing wrong with that. And when Mary freaked out at him, he didn’t yell or scream at her, he just said, “I’m at my father’s house!” Mary didn’t understand it, and she might have taken his words for disrespect but it wasn’t.

Sometimes parental perception is wrong. And that’s okay. We’re all human. And unless you are Jesus you’re not perfect. So we have to work with our parents and work together, and remember that they are our parents, and we live under their roof and we should respect and honor them.

Jesus' Birth

Merry Christmas! Today we have a short lesson, which is our bridge between our Advent lessons and what we’re going to be studying in the New Year, which is Jesus. So today we’re going to talk about Jesus’s birth and what it means.

Someone read Luke 2:1-6.

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

This is the story most of us know and think of when we think of Christmas. Emperor Augustus decided to hold a census, not a census as we know it, but rather an accounting of all people so he could make sure taxes are being paid properly. Because it’s hard to know how much money you should expect in taxes if you don’t know how many people live in certain regions. And as we talked about before, the Romans really cared about taxes.

It says everyone went to their own town to be registered. So even though Joseph and Mary were from Nazareth, Joseph’s family was from Bethlehem—which is the city king David was from. So they were expected to go back to their family’s home to be counted. This would be as if our gov’t required you to go to your grandparents house in order to vote or something. This is a very old-world idea we don’t really have in America of “houses” which is sort of the box that you and your entire related extended family fit into. So you would have to go back to the head of your house to do official like things.

They make it to Bethlehem and then Mary goes into labor, but because everyone is traveling for this census there isn’t a lot of room. Back then, there weren’t really inns like we know them. You couldn’t just go down to the Holiday Inn. Most people when traveling would stay with family and friends. But if your whole family is traveling to Bethlehem, by the time you got there, they may not have any room left in their house.  Some of my research has actually said that the Greek word used here “Kataluma” and that doesn’t mean an inn at all like we think of. Instead it meant upper room, which would be like the family’s nice guest room. Houses back then weren’t built like houses were now. The bottom floor was pretty much in contact with dirt, and sometimes people lived with their animals, so animals would come in and out of the bottom floor. Sort of like having dogs, but people back then would have goats or pigs instead. So the upper room was the special clean room where the animals couldn’t go and where you would host family.

This theory says that by the time Mary and Joseph got there, the upper room was taken—probably by more important family members (a grandmother? Or some sort of other elder probably)—and so Mary and Joseph had to stay on the main floor with the goats and pigs and other random people who were stuffed into the home.

However, common tradition has us translate this as inn. So maybe Bethlehem did have some sort of large home where there was a person who would rent out rooms. Or maybe Mary and Joseph had a wealthy relative who had lots of rooms and they could have had one. But by the time they got their all the rooms were filled.

Regardless, the point here is not whether Jesus was born in an actual stable or on a dirty of house floor and then essentially placed in the family dog bowl. (After all a manger is literally the thing animals eat out of. So in our modern times it would be like you just had a new baby and put it in a dog bowl. Ew). The point is that Jesus’s birth? It wasn’t in a palace. It wasn’t in comfort. It wasn’t even in the best that poor people in Joseph’s family would have to offer—an upper room. The point is that Jesus was born in the muck like the rest of us.

I mean that metaphorically. Most of you were born in very clean hospitals. Jesus’s birth may have been heralded by angels, but when it came to his actual birth, he was born in the dirt and the muck like every human before him had been.

Alright someone please read Luke 2:9-20.

In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah,[a] the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host,[b] praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”[c]

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17 When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Even though Jesus’s birth was inglorious, God wasn’t going to let it pass without some heavenly glory. An Angel appeared to some shepherds to tell them the good news and then suddenly the whole sky was filled with angels all singing and praising God.

Imagine you’re just a shepherd in the fields outside of Bethlehem, probably been a while since you took a shower or been in town, so you’re used to just hanging out with each other, and then suddenly BOOM. ANGELS. Everywhere. Singing that this amazing thing has happened. A messiah was born in the city of David. A Savoir!

The angels told them this happened, so they make haste to find this amazing thing—this baby who angels have praised his birth. Do they leave their sheep behind in their haste? Does one poor shepherd get left behind to tend the sheep while the rest go in town? Do they drive the sheep into Bethlehem in the middle of the night? I don’t know! But I do wonder!

The shepherds go and see Mary and Joseph and the baby in his food bowl bed. They were told of a messiah, a savior, and they find him little in a food bowl. When they saw Jesus I wonder if the humble poverty of his birth stood in the way of seeing him as a savior. I wonder if they were confused or whispered to each other, “This is how the messiah comes into the world?” I wonder if they tried to offer them something better? Maybe one of them had a wool coat or blanket. Maybe they offered it to the baby Jesus. Or maybe when they saw Jesus they saw his glory. Maybe there was something about him as they gazed upon them. Maybe they felt peace and a wholeness they have never felt before. We don’t know. But they saw the baby and they told Mary and Joseph about the angels.

And afterwards, they went to tell everyone what had happened what they had seen. The angels! The baby! The glory and divinity! The humbleness and humanity.

And that’s the paradox of Jesus isn’t it. That all of this glory and divinity can be packaged together with humbleness and humanity. That Jesus is fully God and fully human.

Jesus is literally God made flesh to walk amongst us, to live among us. God could have stayed in heaven, and not dirtied himself down here on the earth. Instead God chose to come here, to walk the earth, to be like us. To experience everything that we experience. Like being born. Probably like getting a childhood illness like chickenpox. Imagine, we have a God who knows what it’s like to get sick as a kid and be stuck in doors while he recovers. We have a God who was born into a family with human parents and later had younger siblings. Jesus knows what it’s like to argue with his parents—we’re going to study stories where he does. Jesus probably knew what it was like to argue with his younger siblings, and he undoubtedly got the fun of being irritated by them. Jesus had friends, and Jesus knows what it feels like to be betrayed by a friend. We have a God who chose to become fully human and experience all of these wonderful and awful human things that we all experience every day.

Jesus is God. He was there at the beginning when there was nothing. He was there when the universe was created. He lived in majesty and glory and perfection in heaven, and instead of just staying up there, he came down here. Born in a humble manger, not in a palace. Born in the dirt.

This is our God. This is Jesus, God with us, the Incarnation.

And that is why Christmas is important. It’s not just angels and wise men. It’s God choosing to come down from heaven to be one of us. And that is the miracle of