For the last four years astronomers have been studying a massive black hole with a total mass greater than 800 million suns. Scientists estimate the black hole is over 13 billion light years away. Such dimensions of time, space and mass boggle the mind.
These dimensions give us a clue to the majesty of our Christmas celebration. The Apostle Paul tried to capture that majesty with these words: “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:15-17).
Our understanding of God is too small, too limited. We think in simple terms of time and space, beginning and end. But, like the universe, Jesus is more than we can comprehend.
That is why, when Moses met God in the desert and asked His name, God answered, “I Am That I Am.”
And that is the reason Jesus spoke of Himself in the same terms. Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I Am.” These words change all our concepts about existence and time. About who we are and who God is. About the meaning of life.
The religious leaders of the first century failed to recognize Jesus because they were conditioned to think in linear terms, past and present, a coming King. Like them we miss Him as well when we think in such terms. He is more than we imagine. He is past, present and future.
John attempted to capture His mystery in more symbolic language: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. … The Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory.” (John 1:1-5,14).
We have limited our understanding of Jesus Christ to a mere mortal man who was born, lived and died at a particular time in history. While He was born in Bethlehem, lived in Galilee and was crucified outside Jerusalem, He was far more than anyone understood. We must chip away all the religious brick and mortar of 2,000 years, remove all the plaster and paint. We must look beyond the musty pages of theology and church history to discover the miracle and the mystery of that moment in time when all that is eternal entered into our narrow frame of existence, calling to us from beyond, calling us to be more than we ever imagined, to be better than we believed we could be, to link our lives with the eternal, to enter, literally, eis aionos, “into the age.”
When Jesus was born, God touched the earth.