The Unexcogitable Christmas
What a silly word "unexcogitable" is. It means "not capable of being thought out or contrived." (It's almost self-defining that way.) However, if Christmas really is the celebration of God’s coming to earth in the form of a human infant, then “unexcogitable” is a good word to use.
This will not be a normal “Tinsel and Tidings” kind of Christmas reflection but, in the spirit of Christmas, I encourage you to stop and take some time to consider who Jesus actually is and what his existence means.
Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus.
We know the human version of the Son of God as “Jesus Christ.” Particularly around Christmas we think of Jesus Christ (if we think of him at all) like Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights: “8lb 6oz newborn infant Jesus, don’t even know a word yet, so cuddly but still omnipotent.”
Now, that’s funny. And it’s not wrong: he was a baby – but it’s far from the complete picture.
If we stop at “baby Jesus” or even “peaceful shepherd Jesus” in our thinking of him, we miss so much of who and what Jesus Christ is and how we ought to live as a result.
What is Jesus?
If we think about Jesus, we tend to start with a human – Jesus, a carpenter from Nazareth – and duct tape supernatural abilities to him, sort of like a superhero. That’s an understandable starting point, but not the most helpful one, because God is far more different and alien to us than he is like us.
Isaiah 40 gives us a powerful description: compared to God, “the nations are like a drop from a bucket ... He lifts up the islands like fine dust. Even Lebanon is not enough to burn, nor its animals enough for a burnt offering ... To whom then will you liken God? ... The Everlasting God ... does not become weary or tired. His understanding is unsearchable.”
We do well to begin our understanding of God as the bizarre, alien, unexcogitable. Other that he truly is. How can it be that God, with all those incomprehensible and powerful attributes, as John 1:14 says, “became flesh, and dwelt among us?” The God-Man!
Other questions follow: “How can we be created in the image of such a being? Is it even possible to know such a God? If so, how?”
As we explore what God has told us about himself and his Son, we come to even more confusing and awe-inspiring truths. This all-powerful Other is not just a “force,” but a person. This person has communicated to us. He is searching to find us. Such finding will result in our salvation from every human problem due to the unmerited, loving actions of this God because he, despite his incomprehensible nature, loves us.
Isaiah 40 also describes God’s actions toward those who follow him: 29 He gives strength to the weary, And to the one who lacks might He increases power. 30 Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, 31 Yet those who wait for the Lord Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.
God’s nature and his love of us ought to intrude on our hearts and minds and spur us on to seek him out for salvation and for life with him, based not on terror or guilt but on unfathomable gratitude.
Many of us have time off from our normal schedule around Christmas. All of us will fill that time with something. Family,
presents, reading, games, shop- ping, watching, traveling. Those
things are all well and good but, if I may make a suggestion: add some “nothing” to that list.
Make empty time this Christmas season. Turn off the TV or podcasts. Take a walk or a drive in silence. Think and ask: what does Jesus Christ mean for your life? What is he saying to you? Are you willing to listen to him?