Christmas–The Incarnation of God

The annual season we know as Christmas is a time when most people remember the stories of Jesus’ birth. The media is full of movies, articles and advertisements, which remind us of those stories. There are good stories — Joseph & Mary, Bethlehem, “no room at the inn” which is traditionally badly interpreted as inhospitality (but that is for another time), the manger, the shepherds, Herod the Great, the wise men, and the celebration by angels. They are stories we need to tell our children and on which we can reflect with our neighbors and colleagues, especially at this time of the year.

However, the real story of the birth of Jesus, the story, which both Matthew and Luke emphasize, is that the birth of Jesus is the incarnation of God. It is the appearance of God himself in the flesh. It is this event which we celebrate weekly and this person whom we worship daily. The real story of the wise men, for example, is not that they visited Jesus, but that they worshipped him and gave him gifts — an example we seek to imitate.

The incarnation, God coming as one of us in the flesh, is at the heart of Christianity and one of its central themes. This is the story we need to tell — that God humbled himself to become one of us….the humility of God….the love of God.

He became one of us to be present within his creation as a creature and unite himself to his creation. His union with creation through the flesh, through becoming a human being, sanctifies creation, redeems it, and communes with it. Becoming flesh, living in his own skin, and being raised in a glorified but yet still human body bears witness to God’s intent to live in relationship with creation itself rather than simply relating to “spiritual” ghosts floating through the “spiritual” clouds. The incarnation is God’s testimony that–and means by which–God intends to unite himself with the creation.

He became one of us in order to reveal God to us. The life of Jesus tells the story of how God would act if he were a human being. In Jesus we have a concrete example of who God is, how he behaves, and how he relates to people. We see God when we see Jesus. He embodies God so that we may know who God is. Jesus is the truth, God in the flesh. He is the life and the way; he is God available to the eyes, ears and touch. We know our God because we know Jesus.

He became one of us in order to experience and sympathize with our suffering. God in himself does not know what it is like to be thirsty, hungry or to experience physical pain. God in Jesus, however, experienced all of these human frailties. Now God knows what it is like to be a human being. He is the empathetic and sympathetic God through Jesus. He shares our pain and temptations, sits on the mourner’s bench with us, and dies with us (as well as for us). God knows humiliation through Jesus;  God knows the experience of fallenness. Our God fully knows us–cognitively but also existentially and experientially.

He became one of us in order to redeem us through the sacrifice of his own life. As the God-Human, Jesus is the mediator between God and Humanity. It his human life that he offered as an atonement for our sins, but he did so not as an act of human blood sacrifice but as an act of divine self-substitution. God became human so that God might engage the powers of evil and defeat them.  God became human so that God might bear sin, take it up into his own life and resolve the cosmic problem of mercy and justice–however that is resolved. God became human that we might have a representative at the right hand of the Father who is one of us. 

At this Christmas season, remember the real story of Jesus’ birth. It is not found in the moralistic (though profitable) stories of Rudolf, the Little Drummer Boy, or the movie “Miracle on 34th Street”. The real story is that God became one of us so that we might become one with God. That is the story we need to proclaim year-round and celebrate daily. It is, truly, the gospel story rather than simply a Christmas story.

A touching video entitled “Emmanuel – God is with us” is available at Benji Kelly’s website that is worth a meditation or two.



One Response to “Christmas–The Incarnation of God”

  1.   richard constant Says:

    JOHN MARK

    I do like the Romans 3:2 and Romans 3:3. It talks of the faithfulness of God, and how that we have the oracles of God, thanks to God’s people and profits, who took it as it really was words from the holy one.

    We always need things that ground our faith and our hope, I have always enjoyed the profits in my own small way.

    I never did get enough of them when I was younger, and now that I’m older and have the capacity to comprehend what was being said to my own degree. I fear John Mark. We don’t spend enough time with the oracles of God.

    WHEN I find that Peter is saying first Peter 1:1 through first Peter 1:14, is that God through his foreknowledge brought us to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. And we are guarded through faith unto a salvation ready to be revealed at the last.
    Time.

    what is interesting is that Peter tells us that the prophets earnestly looked into, which salvation, and what time it was going to come, and how it was going to come. how the Spirit revealed that it wasn’t talking about them. it was talking about us and how they were ministering to us and it was announced by them. By the Holy Spirit, which was sent from heaven, and angels told desired to look into those things. And we know.

    and just by way of remembrance, John Mark,
    to help settle our faith, a cushion to fall back on.
    is that God through the prophets talks with sayings especially like in Isaiah 8 and 9 specifically John Mark Isaiah 9:1 through 3. I think.
    When the Prophet is speaking here, is it called the future perfect tense?

    God is speaking of that which is to come as if it already has

    What brought this up is your Christmas story, Matthew four the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah chapter and eight through chapter9 chapter 9:1 through verse 7 is quite amazing.

    I’m sure you could just tell a wonderful story, please, I wish you would just off the top of your head for Christmas. Maybe,
    and that would be Matthew 4, 12 through verse 17.

    just like in my last last post I said were cheaters , we are. my faith is grounded in the oracles of God and the fulfillment of prophecy. He never dropped the ball.
    It is John Mark the ZEAL of the Lord.
    So where is my hope grounded, where is my faith grounded in the oracles of God being fulfilled. And he will fulfill them?. to the last itsy Bitsy one.

    Well John Mark.
    It is stuff like this that keeps my talking head pretty quiet most of the time.
    Blessings to all and to all a good night
    ?
    Rich:-)

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