Earlier this week, Christians throughout the world celebrated the birth of the Savior. But to the growing number of atheists, this celebration makes little sense. Having accepted the materialist’s view of reality, they have limited themselves to thinking that nature is all there is, or was, or ever will be. Largely oblivious to the futility of such a barren worldview, they think they have the corner on reason as they insist that miracles like the Incarnation are simply not possible.
But the thinking underlying this worldview is circular: they begin with the assumption – the working hypothesis – that nature is all there is, and that all things and events must be explained by natural processes. Is it any wonder, then, that they end up where they began, with the conclusion that miracles do not occur? And without the possibility of miracles, they conclude Christianity must be false, without ever bothering to examine the historical evidence that supports it. But, of course, for a Creator powerful enough to create the universe from nothing -as the Big Bang corroborates occurred – and intelligent enough to create practically infinite varieties of life through the assembly of amino acids into DNA, entering this world as a flesh and blood creature isn’t really an obstacle. Insisting that this is impossible is roughly similar to a fish in an aquarium insisting that nothing exists beyond the tank. To the fish, the tank may seem to define the limits of reality, but that is simply because its frame of reference is so limited.
This Christmas season, it’s worth remembering that the real miracle of Christmas is not that God became man, but the manner in which He did it. When Jesus came into this world, Augustus Caesar ruled a Roman Empire that was making its might felt in all directions of the compass. But Jesus wasn’t born into wealth, power or privilege. Swaddled in rags, He drew his first breath in the lowliest of circumstances, welcomed by parents who could barely care for Him and who needed to flee the country in order to protect Him. He was born to a people that were themselves powerless. Defying expectations of a conquering messiah, He walked among men and women as a simple carpenter, seeking neither to form a church nor raise an army. Instead, He spoke of God’s great love for us, our need to repent and the consequence of remaining in our rebellion. The new “Adam,” he lay down his life to restore what was lost through the original Adam, to fix what was broken…to re-balance the scales.
In so doing, He showed us the meaning of real love – love that seeks neither reward nor return, love that is given selflessly and without limit – the kind of love we each long for, but seek in the wrong places. He emptied Himself so that he could fill us with the love that could restore the relationship broken when man chose to use his free will to defy God. Possessing infinite power, He chose to serve, rather than be served. Without ever putting quill to parchment, his teachings nonetheless reverberate down to us 2000 years later, with the same transformative power that rocked the Roman Empire, and then the world.
The Psalmist says:
“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?”
What is man?
To the atheist, nothing more than an animal. An intelligent animal, to be sure, but nothing more. But to the Creator of the universe, man holds a much revered place. That He would bother with us at – that he would express such love to us and for us – that, indeed, is the true Miracle of Christmas.
Posted by Al Serrato