Christ became one of us, so we could be like Him

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 10, 2011

Paul Harvey once told an unforgettable story that’s especially meaningful during the Christmas season.

It seems that one bitterly cold night a farmer heard a thumping sound on his kitchen storm door. Standing near the stove, he looked out the window to see what was causing the noise. The light from the kitchen cast a glow through the glass storm door onto the ground outside. There, he saw some tiny sparrows trying repeatedly to fly into the obvious warmth of the kitchen.

Instead, the birds kept beating against the glass to no avail. Compassion for the cold, little creatures caused the farmer to bundle up, trudge through the snow, and open the barn to give the birds a warmer place to rest.

He turned on the lights and tossed some hay in a corner. Then he sprinkled a trail of crumbs to lead them to the barn. But the sparrows, afraid of him, sat in the darkness where they had scattered as he came out of the house.

The farmer tried circling behind the birds to drive them toward the barn, tossing the crumbs in the air toward them, and going back into his house to see if they’d fly into the barn.

Still, the sparrows seemed paralyzed by the cold and fear. They couldn’t understand that this huge man was trying to help them. So, he went back into his kitchen and watched the doomed sparrows through the window.

As he stared at the sad scene, a thought occurred to him. “If I could only become a bird for a moment, then I wouldn’t frighten them. I could show them the way to safety and warmth.” In this thought, the farmer had expressed the meaning of Christ’s incarnation.

Paul Harvey went on to say that the concept of a Creator of the universe confining Himself to a human body is too much for some people to believe. Unger’s Bible Dictionary defines the incarnation as “the gracious voluntary act of the Son of God in assuming human body and human nature.”

The apostle Paul says Christ, though equal with God, became one of us, humbling Himself even to death on the cross (Philippians 2:6-8). God demonstrated His love toward us, “in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Oswald Chambers notes that Jesus was “not man becoming God, but God incarnate, God coming into human flesh…born into this world, not from it. Just as our Lord came into human history from outside, so He must come in to me from outside.”

“Christ became what we are that He might make us what He is,” according to a 4th century theologian. Pascal once wrote, “The incarnation shows man the greatness of his misery by the greatness of the remedy he required.” Or, as former atheist C.S. Lewis put it, “At Bethlehem God became man to enable men (women, and boys and girls) to become the children of God.”