I stood next to my son, peering down at the nativity scene in a local church. “Mum, why was Jesus a baby?” It was a good question. I love how children’s questions often cause us as adults to pause and re-think about God.
Why did Jesus come as a baby? Why not a man? If He came to right the wrongs of Adam, why did He not come as an adult? Adam was created fully-grown (Genesis 1:27-28) so why not Jesus?
There are many theories posited around this theme. As I tried to think how best to explain this to my six year old, the one word that resounded in my mind was HOPE.
The prophet Isaiah proclaimed, many centuries before the birth of Christ, “For unto us a Child is born.” (Isaiah 9:6) This declaration was important as it gave Israel one of the essential expectations that humanity requires to keep going - hope. The times were dark for Israel, and many walked in darkness, then came this cry that hope was sure; a Child, a Son, would arrive from God and His reign would be established and ever increasing. As the words left Isaiah’s mouth hope became a certainty. Not a “what if?” Or a “maybe?” It was a proclamation from the throne room of heaven, a promise that would be delivered upon by God Himself.
This promise carried Israel through seven hundred years. It gave each generation hope and purpose. Then one quiet evening He arrived. Hope arrived. Immanuel – God with us, born as a baby, breathed of the Holy Spirit and carried by humanity. One promise fulfilled and another began.
A baby brings joy and hope to all. An adult – not always the case, as an adult Jesus’s arrival from heaven would have left us with a sense of disconnection from God. Fully matured, straight to the cross, no time for relationship – a task oriented God move, but this is not how God reveals Himself throughout the entirety of the Scriptures. He is relational, He desires to grow and build and love and restore and fulfill – just as Jesus did. He desires to nurture us as newborns until maturity. Just as in this baby we call Jesus there was hope, so to in us is there this hope.
Anytime we loose this hope, anytime we look around and wonder if God has forsaken us, we just need to remember the baby in the manager – the hope that was sure. He is the certain “YES” to our myriad of questions, “Does God hear me?” YES “Will God provide for me?” YES “Does God care about me?” YES!
In this baby is proof that God’s word is true and can be trusted. In this baby is certainty of hope that every prayer ever offered up has been heard and that there is a solution on the way. Peace is possible, restoration ready, and reconciliation waiting, all because of this baby. For unto to us a child is born - the hope of humanity has arrived.