Tell me true and glorious things this Christmas Eve, Jonathan Edwards:
Therefore as God with perfect clearness, fullness and strength, understands Himself, views His own essence (in which there is no distinction of substance and act but which is wholly substance and wholly act), that idea which God hath of Himself is absolutely Himself. This representation of the Divine nature and essence is the Divine nature and essence again: so that by God’s thinking of the Deity must certainly be generated. Hereby there is another person begotten, there is another Infinite Eternal Almighty and most holy and the same God, the very same Divine nature.
And this Person is the second person in the Trinity, the Only Begotten and dearly Beloved Son of God; He is the eternal, necessary, perfect, substantial and personal idea which God hath of Himself…
For ages past people have longed to see the face of God. Just show me your face and we will believe, His people have cried. And then He came. Jesus: the image of the invisible God and the manifestation of His essence.
My eyes were filled with foolishness and infected with blindness and I esteemed Him not. I ignored, scoffed, mocked Him and yet, in His infinite patience He let me draw breath and exhale, knowing each moment was taking me closer to the one when He would whisper over me: child, awake! And life would burst forth from this dead heart and spill outwards and upwards giving sight to my eyes.
So, this Christmas Eve, I am given the gift of beholding the true and glorious face of God in the person of Christ.
If you want to know my God, look no further than that manger. But know that the mystery in that manger goes deeper than any ocean for it holds a baby in whom the fullness of God is pleased to dwell. Know that the fear of that child is the beginning of wisdom; know that joy and trembling go hand in hand and kneeling and holding, singing and silence, are all right responses to the news that our God is with us.
I wrote these words last Christmas Eve with tears and shaking hands. They echo today in my steadier, if not stronger heart:
This Gospel is not a sweet story of a cuddly baby in a manager snuggling with sheep and cattle.
That baby was born to die. We are baptized with the blood of a Savior. And servants are not above their master, and students are not above their teacher. If we follow Him, it is to death.
This Gospel is wet with the blood of my dear friend and brother.
This Christmas I will kneel. I will bow to that baby and swear allegiance, just as those three kings did all those years ago. For this God is a consuming fire. And that baby is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
It is with a trembling voice and a broken heart that I declare without hesitation that His call is worthy and His cause is worthy because my King is worthy.
To Him be all the glory.