Images of the Christ child lying in a manger warm our hearts and comfort our souls during this very special time of the year. The songs we sing remind us of angels and shining bright stars adorning the humble surroundings of that very first Christmas over 2000 years ago. And at Easter we think of the suffering Christ and the price He paid for our salvation.
It is easy for us to think about the 33 years Christ spent on earth and to forget the dimension of time. He lives in now and lived in before his physical birth on Christmas morn. If we understand all things about the creation but not the Creator, we understand very little. During this very joyous time of the year, CNAV would like to take a few moments of your time to dwell on who is this child we worship, love, and adore – this God-man that came to save us.
Christ in the Bible: more than a Babe in a manger
Mangers (from the French verb meaning “to eat”) were made of stone, not wood, at the time of Christ. This one rests on Tel Megiddo in Israel. Photo: CNAV.
The Bible tells us He is the Word of God (John 1:1-4). It tells us that in the beginning He was part of the Godhead (or Trinity, as we call it today), and that He created everything through His Word. It also says that He framed the worlds by His Word (Heb. 11:3). All of this and the only images of Christ we seem to embrace are the beautiful child lying in the manger and the suffering Lamb hanging on the cross. Although these images are part of who He is, they represent only 33 years out of His eternal existence.
If we can accept that the holy angels transcend time, as shown in the role they play in “showing” the prophets things that were to occur in the future, then shouldn’t we consider Christ’s ability to transcend time as well? Remember that all things are created by His Word; therefore, time would be part of “all things.” In the Genesis account of creation we are told that God created the heavens and the earth. He also created time when He created “the beginning.” God was able to do this because He lives outside of time in a dimension we refer to as “eternity.” It is one of the reasons we can trust His prophecies. God doesn’t guess. He knows what will happen in the future just as He knows what happened in the past. The Bible tells us there is no one like our God who tells the end from the beginning.
God and Christ transcend time
God can transcend time because He is Lord of time and space just as He is Lord of our lives and the rest of creation. His being Lord of time means that He has dominion over it, which also means He has access to all of its points: past, present and future. This is a remarkable statement, but can Scripture support it? The answer is “Yes!”
There are many verses in the Old Testament that refer to the existence of Christ before the time of His birth – although we often don’t recognize Him as Christ. However, we do recognize Him as God, which He fully is. In the Book of Revelation, Christ refers to Himself as the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last (Rev. 1:11, 7; 2:8). Rev. 1:18 makes it clear that Christ is speaking because He refers to Himself as he who lives and was dead. The Book of Isaiah (41:1; 43:11-12; 9:6) often makes the connection between God and Christ. Isaiah 43:11-12 specifically says that there is no Savior besides God. We are also told that Christ is the Lamb who was slain before the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8). All of these verses tell us that the life of Christ did not begin on that joyous Christmas over 2000 years ago, nor did it end on the cross 33 years later.
Hope in an evil age
Understanding that Christ is Lord of time should give us great hope – especially at a time when evil seems to be growing exponentially. It helps us to understand that life on this earth isn’t all there is. There is so much more to look forward to in eternity with Christ – where we will be able see Him face-to-face, where we will be able to lay our crowns before His feet.
The true meaning of Christmas is that Christ reigns on earth as well as in heaven. If we joyfully celebrate His birth here on earth, we can joyfully celebrate His life in eternity with Him. As we look up at the stars this month, remember the Bright and Morning Star (Rev. 22:16) that gives us hope and promises us eternity.