The Bundle of Joy Who Came on Christmas

 

Having an infant at Christmastime was something that immensely impacted my perspective of the holiday. My eldest daughter was six months old during that December, when I truly grasped the significance of the incarnation. Suddenly, it was clear that the festivities and lights and celebrations and gifts are because Jesus, the infinite Creator God, the second Person of the eternal Trinity, became flesh and blood.

Jesus was a tiny, helpless baby just like my sweet, precious baby.

“And while they were there, the time came for her [Mary] to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger.” Luke 2:6-7

Mary did exactly what we do with babies. We bring them into the world, we wrap them in swaddling cloths, and we lay them down to sleep. When it’s time to eat, we feed them. When they need it, we change their diaper. A baby is ultimately and completely dependent on his mother for his care and nurturing, and just like every other baby before him and just like every baby since, Jesus became exactly like that. And cared for by a woman who he himself created and yet who he himself would call mother.

There is a common verse of scripture often recited this time of year which references the promise of a child, a son who would save his people:

“For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

The coming Messiah, the conquering king, the great deliverer, would come as a babe? God himself was to come and save his people and he would enter the world like the rest of us (Hebrews 2:14-18). Now, the theological implications of why the Christ came as a child, as a human being, are more extensive than I have space to unpack, but there are a couple of points I want to share.

If we go all the way back to the very beginning, to the garden in Genesis 3, we read that sin entered the world through the disobedience of Adam and Eve. From there sin fractured every relationship and brought universal death, both spiritual and physical.

How very dim and dark and hopeless everything became, in an instant.

But God, who is rich in mercy, gave a promise: an offspring would come from the woman who would be bruised by the serpent, but who would ultimately crush the serpent’s head. In Christianity, we refer to this verse as the protoevangelium. Genesis 3:15 is the very first time the Gospel is proclaimed in scripture, right at the very beginning.

The promise given here, by God, is that of a seed, an offspring, a hope for new life.

What I find incredibly interesting is that we see right after this promise is made just how much Adam believes what God has said, because it isn’t until after death had entered into the world that Adam named Eve. And her name means “the mother of all living.”

The promise of a child was a promise of life.

For all of history, the announcement of a pregnancy and the birth of a baby have been a proclamation that life would continue. Despite disease and war and death, it would go on. And Adam believed God, without hesitation, that there was hope of new life coming.

With the birth of this prophesied baby, the Christ-child, the promise of new life was realized. But Jesus was not the fulfillment just of life, but of new, abundant, eternal, everlasting life. He wasn’t simply a picture of life or a promise of life or the hope of life.

He is life (John 11:25, John 14:6). He creates life (John 1:3), gives life (John 10:28), and sustains life (Colossians 1:17). In him is life and that life is the light of men (John 1:4).

But it wasn’t only life that this baby brought into the world, he also brought great joy.

One of my absolute favorite Christmas hymns is Joy to the World. As I sing that song and I think about that baby who was born, I’m reminded that babies are often referred to as a “bundle of joy.” Children are full of joy and bring with them immense joy, especially in times of sorrow.

When I googled the definition of “bundle of joy” the result was simply “a newborn baby.”

I think about the enormous smiles that are so often on my children’s faces and the joy that beams out of them when they are excited, when we turn on music and dance, when they want to show me something they’ve drawn or created, the way their eyes light up when we go to look at Christmas lights. Kids are just naturally so joyful. So I can’t think of a more fitting way for God to send joy into a dark, broken, and hurting world than through a baby, a bundle of joy.

But this wasn’t just any baby. And he wasn’t just a bundle of joy. In Christ, the world received the bundle of joy.

“Joy to the world! The Lord is come:
let earth receive her King;
let ev’ry heart prepare him room,
and heav’n and nature sing”

Consider the joy that a newborn baby brings. Moments after birth, when labor has finally ceased, the waiting of pregnancy is finally over and that baby is in your arms for the first time ever. Nothing, no wait, no pain, no anguish, no labor can possibly compare to the joy on the other side of it all. And that was the sort of joy the world, in anguish and pining and laboring, experienced that Christmas morning.

If we look back at Isaiah 9, we see this same contrast. There is anguish and darkness and despair in Israel. But then in verse 3, God promises joy and much rejoicing. There is coming a time that the anguish will be overshadowed by the incredible joy that is promised to come. He promises that joy is coming, just like he had promised new life was coming.

That joy came in the form of a baby, as if on the other side of a long and arduous labor.

And so, this Christmas, as we remember that Jesus came as that baby, let us rejoice that he came to bring us eternal life and that he came to bring us immeasurable joy. He is the promised seed who crushed the head of our enemy. He, the Lord of all, sat down at the right hand of the Father, giving eternal life to all who believe and he rules and reigns forever and ever as King of kings.

I can think of nothing more worth rejoicing over than that.

Merry Christmas!

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  1. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Whenever I’m out and about and come across a woman holding her baby, I look at the infant and think there’s hope for the future after all.  Thanks for a great post!

    • #1
  2. Manny Coolidge
    Manny
    @Manny

    How beautiful.  The creation of a child is the closet we get to touching God.  And God touching us.  It really is a moment in contact with the Divine.  Thank you, God bless, and Merry Christmas.

    • #2
  3. MichaelKennedy Inactive
    MichaelKennedy
    @MichaelKennedy

    My grandfather was not happy about it. He was born on Christmas Eve and bitterly complained that he got only one present.  Of course, he did have 10 children so, perhaps, one present was one too many.

    • #3
  4. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    @andrewklavan had a similar experience watching his child come into the world. His book is filled with what you describe – the indescribable.  Your post also makes me think of how children are so sweet and innocent.  They don’t know or understand this sinister indoctrination that is taking place around them – I’m speaking of the orchestrated push to gender-fluidity.  God creates us to be male or female – read Genesis.  Without this distinction, there would be no continuity of the human race. Children need to be protected, until they reach adulthood and can rationalize and make decisions for themselves.  Until then, they are born into this world innocent and motherhood is the greatest role – to protect and nurture so that life can continue.  This is a beautiful post. I want to share one of my favorite holiday videos – because the voices and faces project this innocence and reverence:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3rHU_ekIqc

     

    • #4
  5. Jessi Bridges Contributor
    Jessi Bridges
    @JessiBridges

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    My grandfather was not happy about it. He was born on Christmas Eve and bitterly complained that he got only one present. Of course, he did have 10 children so, perhaps, one present was one too many.

    I have a good friend who’s birthday is December 22. She has always complained about having a December birthday. I can imagine it would be disappointing at times!

    But 10 kids! Wow. What a gift in and of itself.

    • #5
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