God’s Diaper Needs a-Changing! So Merry Christmas!

God’s Diaper Needs a-Changing! So Merry Christmas!

But now I know, a low heart does not mean going to God above, whose will I do not know, but to go down to the manger! There I find you where I do not fear you, a little baby at his mother’s breast, and I know exactly what you think of me.

~Steven Paulson, Luther’s Outlaw God, vol. 2: Hidden in the Cross, 100.

Dear People of God,

God has two wills. One, lofty, hidden, and mysterious. You see. God in his divine majesty is infinite. Unknowable, inscrutable, and beyond our comprehension. This will of God plays rough with us, is fearsome to us. We cannot understand it. Let’s compare this to some modest astronomy. We think Earth is pretty big until we compare it to Jupiter. We think Jupiter is pretty big until we compare it to the Sun. We think the Sun is pretty big until we compare it to VY Canis Majoris (one of the largest known stars). Well, God, who created all these things, is even greater than Earth, Jupiter, Sun, or VY Canis Majoris. This gets at why God said to Moses, “But, you cannot see my face; for no one shall see me and live” (Exod. 33:20). The sheer overwhelming divinity of God would literally kill us. So God does not want us to find him in the things above and beyond us. No one has, no one can know him this way. The hidden, first will of God is hidden for a reason.

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So we must consider the second will of God. The revealed will. Now this is the God we can know. The God we can say something about (and which he also calls us to speak for him). And this is where your Merry Christmas comes. The uncreated, unlimited, eternal, almighty, Lord of heaven and earth took upon himself the lowly flesh of humankind in the birth of Jesus Christ. On Christmas we find him in a manger, wrapped in bands of cloth. Suddenly the hidden, mysterious, and even dangerous will of God is no longer the center of our thoughts. In the birth of the Christ child God erases all doubt we ever had about what God thinks of you and me. The incarnation of the Lord is God going public with bells attached! The word became flesh and dwelled among us (John 1:14). No longer are we left to fend for ourselves in the dark about God. But in the baby Jesus God has given himself to you “knowingly and willingly.” God does not leave us in silence to get lost in ourselves, but drags you out of yourself to this child lying in the manger. God says, “You want to know me, huh? Then get to know me here!” A child. Weak. Helpless. Sometimes crying. Sometimes resting peacefully. Being breastfed by his mother. And what now? God REEKS! That diaper needs some changing! In the infant Jesus, made known to you and I beyond all doubt is God’s gracious, kind, and warm heart.

Dear people, your God is not above you and thus unknowable. God is down-to-earth. That is the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is what God actually is telling you. God in Jesus Christ is One who saves you. So, now you can celebrate a Merry Christmas in the true sense of the words “Merry”—free and joyful, and “Christmas”—the Christ! God-in-a-human being, reconciled-to-you. Your sins are forgiven. 

Peace and joy,
Pastor Levi Powers
Mount of Olives Lutheran Church
Rock Springs, WY