A paradox is an apparent contradiction that conceals a profound Truth—and the Bible is filled with paradoxes. We triumph by first surrendering to God. We find freedom in becoming Christ's bondservants. We are made great by becoming little. We become wise by becoming fools for Christ's sake. We can only truly live if we die to self.
Yet the greatest paradox in the entire Bible is found in the birth of Jesus Christ. During the time of Jesus' birth, Caesar Augustus was the greatest ruler of the world. Yet even with all of his earthly authority and riches, Caesar was just a man. When God Himself came to earth, He was not the leader of the largest empire. He was born as a poor and obscure child in Bethlehem. The pagan man Caesar was at the height of power; the God-infant, Jesus, was in the depths of helplessness. Caesar was the wealthiest man on earth; Jesus was one of the poorest. Caesar slept in a Roman palace on a golden bed covered with fine linens; Jesus slept in a manger, bundled in swaddling clothes.
A paradox is an apparent contradiction that conceals a profound Truth.
But none of the wealth or power that Caesar possessed compared to the glory and splendor that Jesus had left in heaven. Jesus endured a human, earthly birth so that everyone who follows Him can undergo a spiritual, heavenly birth. Jesus became a member of a human family so that those who love Him can become members of His heavenly family.
The infant Jesus was pursued by the ruthless and evil King Herod who ordered the slaughter of all the boys two years old and younger in the Bethlehem area, hoping to end the threat of the one "born king of the Jews" (see Matthew 2:1-18). Yet the very baby Herod hunted was born to destroy the root of all such evil: Satan.
We can learn from the paradoxes of Christmas: We should not judge things by appearances because God hid His greatest gift in a humble package.
Prayer: Father, I thank You for the paradoxes of the Christmas story. Thank You for all that You teach us through Your unusual ways. Thank You for the humble package that changed my life. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14).