The holidays usher in a bunch of different emotions for people. Some people are excited to spend the season with their families. Some are excited for presents. Some see it as a time to get religious. Others see it as a time to give their opinion on religion.
For Christians, many focus on the birth of Christ and are reminded of the sacrifice he gave on the cross. They are reminded of forgiveness and charity and grace. They absorb this into their systems and are filled with great adoration.
The birth of Jesus is the introduction to the greatest life ever lived. It is easy to want to skip to the end of the story just by looking at the introduction, and for most people that is what happens with Christmas. People see the virgin birth, grin, and then thank Christ for the cross. But without the incarnation, without the birth, without his life, the cross would be insignificant.
I was helping a friend of mine study for a theology final that she is taking in a few days. We were going over the incarnation and its implications, its reality and the heresies that threatened Christianity. While going over the incarnation, I was reminded the meaning of Christ’s birth. I think Colossians sums it up pretty well: “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily…”
In the first century, there were at least two things that the Jewish people didn’t expect about the Christ:
That he would suffer and die on a cross,
And that he would be God…
Christmas shows us that God was willing to strip Himself of His glory and dwell with His creation. The incarnation points to God’s sovereignty as well as His love for man. God loved mankind insomuch that He would die for mankind, but also loved mankind insomuch that He would become a man himself! It is so profound!
“Mild He lays His glory by, Born that man no more may die, Born to raise the sons of earth, Born to give them second birth…” – Charles Wesley
During Christmas, let’s make sure we remember forgiveness, grace, and the resurrection, but let us focus on the fact that God was willing to take on flesh and dwell among us. Christ, though being God, didn’t consider it a thing to be taken for granted. He was born in the stables, not even having a bed or a crib, lived the life of a servant – washing his disciples’ feet, and ultimately died the cruelest of deaths – the traitor’s death of a crucifixion.
Remember God came in the likeness of man – a baby that couldn’t even take care of himself.
Be reminded that He laid aside His glory to be a fragile and vulnerable man.
And be encouraged that He did it all out of love.
“We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach people to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable [rational] soul and body; consubstantial with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary…” – An excerpt from the Chalcedonian Creed