Christmas Nativity

Pastor's Blog

What's so special about the Lord's nativity, and how is it similar or different from our own?

The word, nativity, simply means birth. We commonly use it in reference to the birth of the Lord, Jesus Christ, but everyone's birth is their own nativity. Being born makes us natives of this physical world.

Christmas is a special time to focus on and learn more about the importance and significance of the Lord's birth. In many ways the Lord's experience was just like the birth of any human being. It seems so ordinary that it could be mistaken as merely human or lacking any divine substance. Swedenborg teaches that God could have come into the world in another way, appearing suddenly as a full-grown person, but He wouldn't have accomplished what He could by means of a natural birth and the "normal" process of human development in this world.

Nonetheless, His development was special because it was guided from within by His Father's soul. In Jesus' infancy, the Gospel writer, Luke, explained, "the little Child grew, and became strong in Spirit, filled full with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him." (Luke 2:40) This is explained with even stronger language in Swedenborg's work, True Christianity: "In God's human manifestation he was an infant like any infant, a child like any child, and so on with just one difference: he completed the process more quickly, more fully, and more perfectly than the rest of us do." (True Christianity 89; Rose)

In the context of that quotation, Swedenborg elaborates that just as we mature spiritually and get closer to God, so Jesus had to mature spiritually and get more in touch with His inner soul from His Father. And as He did, the Father formed a partnership with Him just as God does everything possible to be in a partnership with each of us. Of course, the big difference is that while none of us mortals will ever become one with the Divine, Jesus actually united Himself with the Father so that we regard Him as the one God of heaven and earth.

The Swedenborgian Christian perspective of the nativity of Jesus is special because it emphasizes Jesus not only showing us the way to live as natives of this world by birth, but especially how we can be born again to become natives of heaven!

—Pastor Nathan Gladish, December 2021