Yuletide Portrait – Vulnerable God


It’s not often we would ever consider putting the word “vulnerable” as an adjective to describe the God who made the heavens and the earth, and holds it all together! But Christmas displays just that conundrum!

The Christmas story teaches us so much about vulnerability and faith. Besides leaving His throne and coming to earth as a human being, the Lord Jesus also had two other sovereign options available to Him:

  1. To come as a powerful ruler, putting us in “our place” and taking control of the situation, or
  2. He could have stayed in heaven and skipped the trip to a life filled with inconvenience, servitude, pain, and suffering.

Fight or flight. Either would have been more pleasant for Him. But . . .

. . . she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn (Luke 2:7).

Instead of these two choices, God sent His Son, as a vulnerable infant—revealing the nature of His advent from the start. The in-between path is vulnerability. It is a choice of faith to walk that powerful spiritual middle road. “The Word became flesh and flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14).

It’s a powerful example for us—a third path—giving us, His people, the way of faith.

Most often the call of God in our lives leads towards challenges and discomfort, situations where we feel vulnerable and exposed, whether it’s in a health or job-related trial, challenges with our employers, or in our relationships with those closest to us: our friends, spouses, or children. The Scriptures portray God’s people at their best when they live in situations where a choice must be made: to run and hide, to power up in our own strength, or to trust God and “enter the danger.” God invites us into the place of vulnerability and trust, for it is there that we most reflect the spirit of Jesus (Philippians 2:5-11).

For more inspiring reading, check out this excerpt from a famous speech by Teddy Roosevelt.

As we reflect on the mystery and grace of Christmas, let’s praise God that His Son, Jesus, willingly became a vulnerable infant, then man—“entering the danger” on our behalf. What amazing grace!

  • Is there a conflict or challenge in your life where you need to consider this third option of vulnerability and trust, rather than the normal paths of fight or flight?
  • What would it look like for you to trust God and put yourself into the place of vulnerability, depending on Him to protect and provide the way through?

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