Mike Cosper wrote an excellent article entitled “Christmas: The Hinge of History.” Here’s an excerpt:
There’s a deep irony in the Christmas story. First, there’s the nativity itself. The creator of the universe, the King of kings, was born in a barn. In Christmas, God unveils an economy of what is truly “good” and “blessed.” It’s in harmony with the Sermon on the Mount and 1 Corinthians 1:20-31, turning the wisdom of the world on its head.
The news of the Savior’s birth is not announced to the cultural elites or the middle class, but to shepherds. Smelly, unkempt, hill-dwelling, bottom-caste outsiders. And to add insult to injury, the signs of the Savior’s birth are comprehended not by the religious establishment—those with their theological “i’s” dotted and “t’s” crossed—but by Magi, about whom we know very little. Perhaps they were faithful believers in Babylon, carrying on the work that Daniel began when he served in the kingdom there. Perhaps something else. They certainly weren’t priests, Pharisees, or ethnic Jews.
As Andrew Peterson says, “It was not a silent night.” It was a dingy and earthy experience. I have friends who unexpectedly delivered a baby at home. I stood in their bathroom a few hours afterward, hearing the story, viewing the aftermath. There’s not much that’s dignified about such an experience. And that was with the luxury of clean linens and air conditioning. The ceramic creche on a mantle doesn’t give us a sense of the violence, the viscera, the scarring and tearing, the deeply human and hauntingly cursed pain of such a moment, the indignity of birthing surrounded by cud-chewing ruminants.
(HT: Trevin Wax)