This article was authored by Will Hubbard. Will is the Vice President of Ratio Christi at Clemson University and is a junior majoring in Agricultural Mechanization.
In my last essay I took the liberty of briefly discussing the problem of evil in this poor fallen world and the solution that God provides for it. As we celebrate the Christmas season, I would like to take this opportunity to elaborate particularly on a specific event in that plan of redemption, namely, the birth of the Christ in Bethlehem.
As mentioned previously, it is clear to all that something in the beginning went wrong, and that the present troubles of creation can be attributed to this occurrence. It makes sense to term this event “the Fall,” for in his heart of hearts, Man knows that he was not always this way, that he was once better than he is. In fact, he was created perfectly, and all of his efforts to follow the laws, rules, and rites of God and Man are attempts to return to this state of perfection, this state of normalcy. For it is no stretch to term man in his current state as an abnormality, fallen from normalcy. This is another facet in the dilemma of evil. For evil itself is an abnormality, a blight on, or, if you will, a twisting of, the original design. Evil has no legitimacy in the world; rather it is a foul usurpation of what was meant to be, just as the Evil One is a usurper against the Kingdom of Heaven.
This is why it is fitting that, at the birth of the Christ child, a great king of the earth trembled in his palace at the thought of the wailing babe. For his Master trembled as well, because here, in the form of a helpless infant, his great Nemesis, God Himself, had come back for His own. Cast from the Heavens, the Devil had seized the earth as his new stronghold and man as his own slave, but now, even here Omnipotence had followed. This baby, this child, was God, stepping into the arena of the world, the champion of Man, who would do battle from the front for His creation. He was the King, returning the Kingdom of Heaven to earth.
Thus, the greatest Paradox the world has ever seen came into being: a man who was God, a God who was a man. His entire life seems to us paradoxical, strange, and foreign. Born the lowest of men, He claimed the highest seat of Heaven. Not fearing to touch the vilest with healing, He yet inflicted wounds upon the defilers of His Father’s House. He cast down the high of the earth and held up a child as the greatest in Heaven. Forgiveness was poured upon the outcasts who least merited it, while a needle’s eye would sooner admit a camel than the respectable enter into eternal bliss. He blessed the most wretched, and cursed the most blessed. He cast back a mob with His word, yet was silent when asked to defend Himself. And then, being God, the Eternal, the Alpha and Omega, He died. Regardless of our beliefs, the Christ of the Gospels seems to us a bizarre figure, foreign to the world, and unknown to the race of men.
But perhaps the reason that Christ is so strange to us is that He is normal and we are not. Perhaps we are the abnormalities, the foreigners, the ones who do not belong. For men are evil, twisted from their original form. Perhaps we are, in the apt phrase of C. S. Lewis, the “bent ones,” and we fear and mock Christ because He is straight. For we, being in ourselves misshapen, naturally delight in all that is as twisted as we are and despise that which is truly good. We, being broken men, abhor the one who is truly the Man. He is what we should have been, and we hate Him for it.
This is why the coming of Christ truly altered the world forever, for He straightened it. No longer must we be broken; we can be made whole, made normal again. We can be what we were created to be. His coming began the world being set aright, toppling the Usurper’s rule and reestablishing the Kingdom of God. It is at this season that we remember and celebrate the return of normalcy to Man, the return of common sense, the return of our King.