God paid us a visit for thirty-three years at and about the city of Jerusalem in a region of the earth called the Middle East more than two thousand years ago. The thirty-three year visit occupied an infinitesimally thin slice of time compared to the thickness of eternity. Yet, the brief Visit was long enough to reveal to us aspects of the nature of God.
What does the Nativity tell us about God?
At the beginning of the thirty-three year Visit, the Son of God entered our world at Bethlehem. To accurately represent the hierarchy of the relationship between creator and creature, the Son of God ought to have entered the world on a level high above us. However, He did not. He entered the world on the same level as us. He did not claim superiority to us but equality with us. God rubbed elbows with us. They say God pitched His tent with us. The Son of God came not in power. The Son of God came not in wealth. The Son of God came in poverty and weakness. Love took flesh in a manger inconspicuously in the boondocks of time and space.
The nativity is the proof that God put into our hands of the humility of God.
Take note of the question that was asked. 'What does the nativity tell us about the nature of God?'. The question that was not asked was 'what does the nativity tell us about how we ought to behave?' In 99% of the sermons preached around the world today, the Nativity is the jumping off point to regulation - to a recommendation about how we ought to behave (See The Fork in the Road). My preacher spoke about being the anti-innkeeper - about doing the opposite of the innkeeper by opening ourselves to the Lord. He used the Nativity to justify a code of conduct that he was promoting. My preacher said nothing about what the nativity tells us about God. Nothing. I was disappointed.
The various aspects of the thirty-three year Visit tell us something about the nature of God. The thirty-three year Visit was an apocalypse. It tore in twain the veil that hides from us the holy of holies and revealed the nature of God for all to see (See The Fork in the Road). The various aspects of the thirty-three year Visit are jumping off points. From them we can jump into either of two pools: 1) revelation or 2) regulation. The various aspects of the thirty-three year Visit can tell us something about the nature of God or they can tell us something about how we ought to behave.
I take the position that the various aspects of the thirty-three year Visit ought to first be used to tell us about the nature of God. This is contrary to the current practice in the Church today.
Because the current practice in the Church today is to preach about regulation and not about revelation, God has become a stranger to us. We no longer know God. Chew on that fact for a moment.
Furthermore, our lack of knowledge about God has pernicious consequences.
When we come to know God, we want to learn more about them. We start to feel the tug of the Holy Spirit upon our souls and, curious, we start to follow the tug to its source. Along the way, we visit the holy places. At the holy places, we include God in our lives and God includes us in theirs. At the holy places, we have close encounters with the living God. During a close encounter with the living God, a connection is made between heaven and earth. Through the connection, the light of paradise illuminates the darkness of godlessness. Nobody walks away from a close encounter with the living God unchanged. Nobody walks away from a close encounter with the living God empty handed. At the holy places, God transforms us. We start to realize that God loves us. The realization starts us down the road to loving God. Without love, the ears of the student are closed to the instruction of the teacher. Love opens our ears. With our ears opened, we obey (listen to) the instruction of God because it is beneficial to us. All of this does not happen if God is a stranger to us.
More revelation; less regulation. Why? More revelation means more obedience to the instruction of God.