Plan B: it’s what you do when your best laid plans go awry. I guess I’ve always thought of Christmas as God’s Plan B. Maybe it’s the dubious stories I grew up with that pictured the aftermath of the fall of Adam and Eve. In these tales, the Son pleads with the Father to allow him to go to earth to save mankind; the Father only reluctantly agrees to the plan.
I’m no longer convinced that seeing the incarnation as a last ditch fall back plan adequately acknowledges God’s sovereignty, omniscience, omnipotence, or eternal timeless nature. Lately, our church has been studying through the book of Ephesians. In doing so, we’ve touched on some parallel material in Colossians. Space doesn’t permit an in depth discussion here, but I encourage you to read at least the first chapter of Colossians and the first three chapters of Ephesians. In these chapters the incarnation sounds very much like God’s Plan A from all eternity.
In reference to the Son, we’re taught that “all things have been created through Him and for Him” (Col. 2:16) [emphasis mine]. We’re also told that God’s purpose has always been “the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth…” (Eph. 1:10). Amazingly, we’re included in God’s purpose: “…He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world…He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to himself, according to the intention of His will…” (Eph. 1:4–5).
Nothing surprised God. Nothing happened outside His permissive will. Nothing ever could. God foreknows everything perfectly, and yet He chose to create this particular world. Why did God allow everything to happen as it has? I can’t give a definitive answer any more than I can fully comprehend God’s ways, but I do think some of the passages above give us a little glimpse into the mystery of His eternal will.
What if the incarnation was always the point? What if God’s eternal purpose was always to wed Himself to His creation via the person of Jesus? What if the incarnation isn’t just a desperate effort to salvage a botched job, but God’s eternal plan for the Son and for the adoption of many heirs through Jesus? What if Christmas has always been Plan A?
In my old life, I used to know all the answers. Every Bible story had copious amounts of “inspired” filler. In the life after Adventism, I confess that I don’t know much. I read, I pray, I ponder, and I benefit from the godly counsel of those more experienced in the faith. I don’t claim to have all the answers anymore.
I do know that my view of God has changed significantly. I now see Him as truly sovereign over all. I now see Jesus as highly exalted, the center and focus of all. In turn, my view of Christmas has begun to change. We often say, “Jesus is the reason for the season,” but then immediately skip to how that benefitted us.
What if the person of Jesus, Jesus Himself, the incarnated God-man, is really the reason for all of creation? What if it’s not so much about me, but all about Him and His incarnation? For me, such thoughts only serve to magnify the wonder that He chose to include me at all. He didn’t have to do any of this. He didn’t have to create this world. He certainly didn’t have to come into it, and He didn’t have to take on a human nature. For whatever reason, God, from all eternity, chose for the Son to add a human nature to Himself, forever, and via that act to make me a son and joint heir. Viewed as Plan A, Christmas is nothing short of astonishing.†