I think that we both would agree that Christmas is more than the cards and gifts, more than the trees and lights, more than family and food. There is a much deeper meaning, a much more fulfilling notion than that of a fat, bearded man on a sleigh. It is the birth of the Christ child: the true story that God was born of a virgin in the little town of Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago. BUT WHY? To so many, the mystery of this event brings a magic to their celebration like none other. Let’s unwrap the greatest Christmas gift ever given and discover the real reason for the season…
Incarnation & Revelation … the WORD
The Nativity wouldn’t be the Nativity without the incarnation (God putting on human flesh) of Christ. God revealed Himself to mankind as the baby in the manger, born of a virgin. It was imperative that He be virgin-born, just as Isaiah predicted (7:14), in order to be 100% man, yet without the damning sin nature. God told Satan (Gen. 3:15) that Eve’s seed (not Adam’s) would bring a Deliver, a Conqueror. In Christ, there is a mysterious nature of both complete Deity and complete humanity (the hypostatic union of His two natures). WHY? So that He could restore us to His original intent.
The Apostle John writes that Jesus is the WORD. The second Person of the Trinity, pre-existent before Bethlehem, took on human flesh and lived on earth among other men (Jn 1:1,14, 18). He was the glory and the desires of God revealed to men. He was the truth and grace of God visibly manifested for us. In this, God gave us the Truth of Himself and quieted down all rumors or lies about what He desired. In this, He made Himself fully known at the level of our comprehension and understanding, therefore make us accountable to Him in the last days. WHY? So that we would know who God is and what He desires.
Identification & Exemplification … IMMANUEL
Although Jesus was never referred to (that we know of) as Immanuel during His earthly ministry, this was a title he bore. Nearly 750 years before Christ was born, Isaiah prophesied that Mary would call the baby Immanuel, meaning God with us. She would understand His origin immediately but not realize His purpose until many years later. He came to identify with mankind. Not that He could not sympathize with what we go through before He came (God does not need to go through something to learn from it – He has knowledge that supersedes experience), but we needed the assurance that God understands – that He doesn’t need any explanation about life. His experiences connect Him to us through the shared suffering of common realities. WHY? So that we would have comfort (peace) that He indeed cares and understands.
Immanuel came to be with us to show us how to live. He set forth a pattern of Divine living. Not only did He give us the right way, He is the way. Christ came to LIVE and to DIE (below). In living, He became the example, the standard, for every disciple and follower. As believers, we are commanded to take up His yoke (Mt. 11:29), to take up His cross (Mt. 16:24), and to follow His example of serving (Jn. 13:15) and suffering (1Pet. 2:21). We are challenged to consider (concentrate on) Him and to look to (focus on) Him with our whole heart and mind (Heb. 3:1; 12:2). He lived a sinless, selfless, surrendered life for you and for me. WHY? So we would know the full potential of a life lived in fellowship with God.
Salvation & Glorification … JESUS
“On the night Christ was born, just before break of morn, as the stars in the sky were fading
Or the place where he lay fell a shadow cold and gray of a cross that would humble a king.
Born to die on Calvary, Jesus suffered my sin to forgive,
Born to die on Calvary, He was wounded that I might live.”
Jesus was His name; a very common name during that day and age. Jesus is the Greek form of Joshua (Hebrew) which was a shortened form of Jehovah-Yashaw (Jehovah Saves or Jehovah is Salvation). Millions have carried this name as their name, yet this name was made for only One. It is both a common name and a special name because it is the name above every name (Phil. 2:9-11). Matthew 1:21 makes it abundantly clear why Jesus came to earth in the first place: saving His people from their sins. He came, as Dr. Luke put it, to seek and to save that which was lost (19:10). Because of sin, we were far from God. There was no solution from our perspective, and no easy one from God’s. But since Jesus was both fully God and fully man, He was the only one able to mediate a new covenant, and He did so very willingly even though the cost was so high. That is why there is salvation in no other, for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12). When Jesus died and rose again, He secured a future of hope for all who would believe. He reserved an eternity of togetherness – just us and Him! WHY? So we might be saved from our sins and live with Him forever. WHY? So that He might receive the glory both now and forever. Amen!