“If Shakespeare and Hamlet could ever meet,” wrote C. S. Lewis, “it must be Shakespeare’s doing. Hamlet could initiate nothing.”(Lewis 1955: 227) In his footnote Lewis expounded,
“Shakespeare could, in principle, make himself appear as Author within the play, and write a dialogue between Hamlet and himself. The “Shakespeare” within the play would of course be at once Shakespeare and one of Shakespeare’s creatures. It would bear some analogy to Incarnation.”(ibid)
Incarnation was a means to which the Word became flesh (John 1:14). It was the way the Creator partook of the same nature as his creatures in every respect (Heb. 2:14, 17), born of a woman (Gal. 4:4), manifested in the flesh (1 Tim. 3:16) and was found in human form (Phil. 2:8). Incarnation is Immanuel, God with us.
Unlike Eastern and Alexandria Christians who celebrated the birth of Christ Jesus, the Creator dwelling in the form of a creature on January 6th, Western Christians in ca. A.D. 336 celebrated this feast on December 25th, possibly to take hostage the Roman pagan celebration of the birth of the unconquered Sun, Natalis Solis Invicti, Emperor Aurelius.
December 25th for Christians is not simply the celebration of birth of a baby Jesus, but a King worthy of our allegiance. The Christmas saga is about an infinitely glorious rich King who for our sake became a poor servant King and by His poverty we become rich (2 Co. 8.9). Christ Jesus is Christians’ servant King. The King who came not to be served but to serve. He served by becoming the Savior and Triumphs King (Phil 2:5-11).
This is why Christians celebrate the birth of Christ Jesus. The time when the Creator became a creature. This is why I celebrate.
Lewis, C. S. (1955) Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich
23 thoughts on “When The Creator Became A Creature”
Can you enlarge on your thoughts, as I am not altogether sure I agree with ‘lost in Christian tradition’ – what brings you to that conclusion?
What is lost in Christian tradition is the PROMISE of “seeing greater things” than Nathanael’s surprise at the invasion of his wholly private thoughts (John 1: 47-51), and its FULFILLMENT at the pouring out of “the blood and water” in Christ’s death on the cross (Ibid. 19: 34-37).
The reference is to the perpetual revelation of Christ’s divine identity and absolute authority over death and life, a.k.a., eternal life and the official start of his work of baptism with the Holy Spirit.
The open-ended ministry of the post-Incarnate Christ to the whole world fulfills the terms, seal and scope of the “new covenant”. (Ibid. 21:25 based on Jer. 31: 31-34; Matt. 26: 26-29)
Christian tradition and theology, on the other hand, refer to the greatest news ever from the glorious and blessed God as an isolated and obscure “phenomena” accompanying the death of Christ. (A.T. Robertson, “A Harmony of the Gospels”)
The apophatic way is ultimately concerned with the truly unitive experience, a movement beyond duality into a oneness with the Divine Reality. Such a co-respondence to the Incarnation is the heart of Christianity – but which has rarely found expression in Christianity.
The coming of Jesus Christ is both an end and a beginning. This definitive appearance of the wisdom and power of God as an individual human person is the beginning of the new creation.
Perhaps the time has come for Christians to seriously reclaim Christmas. Has all the emphasis on Easter come about because we have given up on the real Christmas – allowed the secular world to have its way?
But it will be only a matter of days before Easter Eggs have replaced Christmas decorations on the supermarket shelves.
Only by connecting to the background of the gospel (found in the prophetic terms, scope and seal of the “new covenant”), can we reclaim the real Christmas.
It is about a critical mass defined in personal KNOWLEDGE OF GOD, a.k.a., “Jesus Christ, the first-born from the dead” among many brothers.
There is a focal point, @ Christ’s death on the cross, between the extremes of man’s “useless power” and God’s “life-giving Spirit” lost in Christian tradition.
I believe it is impossible to separate the Incarnation, Passion, Death and Resurrection, and the Ascension. All have equal importance. Christians are as much the Incarnation People as they are the Easter People.
I believe you are right Graham.
His birth illustrates his humanity; his death makes salvation possible for us; his resurrection illustrates his glory and guarantees our future resurrection to glory.
Imagine the time when…The Word, who had life within himself, became flesh. The immortal became mortal. The Creator became as one of the created. These concepts contradicted everything the Jews and Greeks had thought about God, and many people could not accept these ideas. They could not believe that God had become human.
Whatever Christians claim to be, the post-Incarnate “day” the Son of Man is perpetually revealed, at Christ’s death on the cross, proving the assignment of equal weights for the Incarnation, Passion, Death and Resurrection, and the Ascension completely spurious.
(Luke 17: 20-37; 23: 40-49)
Whoa! The quotation by Lewis is mind-blowing. It speaks directly to the Incarnation in both a simple and profound way! Thank you for mining this gem for me.
You are welcome Richard. Thank you for reading.
As you may know, there is not one verse of Scripture describing anyone celebrating the births of righteous men such as Abraham, Moses, or King David. In fact, the Bible is silent on the exact dates of the births of all God’s faithful servants—Jacob, Sarah, Noah, Abel, Samuel, Job, Esther, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Peter, Paul, James (Christ’s brother), and the rest of the apostles. Even the birth date of Jesus Christ goes unrecorded in the Bible.
Birthday celebrations are mentioned in the Bible on three separate occasions and, in each case, something terrible occurred.
In his epistle to the Romans, Paul is addressing the issue of which day should be the day of worship, but this could also apply to birthday celebrations, fasting, or other things not specifically addressed: “One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord” (Romans 14:5-8).
The bottom line for Paul is that each man should be fully convinced that he is doing what God wants him to do. If one person chooses to celebrate birthdays and he sees nothing wrong with it, he should celebrate with a clear conscience. If, however, he feels celebrating is against his conscience, he should not celebrate. Conversely, if one does not celebrate birthdays for reasons of conscience, that is fine, as long as it does not become a source of pride and he does not look down on those who do celebrate. As with all issues not specifically addressed in Scripture, we have the freedom to celebrate or not celebrate birthdays, according to personal preference.
My prayer is we remember and celebrate His death and resurrection with the same, if not more, enthusiasm and reverence, as His birth.
The CHOICE is between observing EITHER an unknowable day Jesus was born in a manger OR the personally knowable “day the Son of Man is revealed”, a.k.a., Jesus Christ, “the first-born from the dead” among many brothers.
Luke 17: 20-37; 23: 40-46
Although I like what you say, I am not altogether sure why you make the distinction between Western and Eastern celebrations on different dates. ?
It was simply to provide information that not all Christians celebrated this feast on the same date.
The whole rationale for the Incarnation is God’s perpetual self-revelation, a.k.a., “life-giving Spirit”, @ the “tree of life”, i.e., the cross of Christ’s death as a means for completing the act of creation of man in his own image on “the day the Son of Man is revealed” as the God of the living, not of the dead.
(Luke 17: 20-37; 20: 27-40; 23: 40-49)
This is a perspective I haven’t thought of before. Beautiful sentiments.
Thank you Crystal
“possibly to take hostage the Roman pagan celebration of the birth of the unconquered Sun, Natalis Solis Invicti….”
Um, no… it was not “POSSIBLY,” rather certainly to molest a pagan date in the hope to gain converts.
Encyclopaedia Britannica: “Christians count 133 contrary opinions of different authorities concerning the year the Messiah appeared on Earth”
ONE-HUNDRED-AND-THIRTY-THREE different opinions! Wow, that’s impressive! Odd how no one seems to know when this god was born, or why no one ever drew a picture of him… or wrote down a single contemporary word…
Happy New Year, Prayson 🙂
Thank you John for your input. I believe you could be right, I used possibly because I am not certain. For early Christians the dates of the birth of Christ seams not important. Their way of thinking is divorced from the 4th century Christians and megadivorced from today’s Christians.
The birth of Christ Jesus is not to be understood as the birth of God. This would simply miss what early Christians meant. They meant the birth of a Jew who unlike any other had two natures. The human nature that was born, and the divine nature that had always existed.
Happy New Year, John 😉
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