“You could have saved us in a second, but instead you sent a child”

These words make up the final stanza of the bridge to song I came across a few years ago. Though the song is not otherwise significantly connected to the Christmas story, I find this line ringing through my mind at this time of year. I’ve found it to be an invitation to ponder why God would do things this way. It is not beyond God’s ability to have brought about an adult Messiah to carry out His plan of redemption, nor was much of Jesus’ life overtly necessary for the act of atonement… so why did God send a child?

When I think of Jesus’ birth, and Mary holding the freshly delivered infant, I can’t help but imagine her asking, “Is this really the way you’re going to do this God? Why have you come in the most vulnerable and dependent form of human? Why are you entrusting your physical needs to an adolescent girl? Why are you doing things this way?” You may be able to list off some answers that perhaps have to do with lineage or the fulfillment of prophecies, but I’ve found it helpful, and more awe inducing, to ask why this was God’s chosen means in the first place.

For me, this means of entry into the world displays God’s willingness to fully participate in the human experience, the ultimate act of establishing common ground with us. It also suggests that God is okay taking His time; Jesus’ coming and the salvation it would ultimately bring wasn’t about efficiency, God took the scenic and earthen route, one that required time for the Messiah to develop and grow physically. Finally, this means of entry is a profound moment where God actually entrusts Himself to our care. What a paradox that the One who holds the whole world in His hands would allow Himself to be held in by the hands of His own creation.