I love Christmas. Not just because I get to eat great food, relax with my wife, or open presents- while I do enjoy that aspect of Christmas- I love Christmas mainly because I love what it means for the whole human race. The meaning of Christ’s birth, and the incarnation of the Son of God has become a fascination of my heart over the last few years. Since grasping the astonishing truth of the incarnation, I have taken the time to meditate on the meaning of incarnation each Christmas.
The incarnation is when the almighty God bowed low to save humanity. The Word of God became flesh of our flesh, and bone of our bone. The incarnation, I believe, is one of the most stunning events that has ever happened to our world.
There are many promises that this reality brings to us. Here I have listed three. May each truth astonish your heart with the blissful reality of incarnation and the happy meaning of Christmas!
1. The promise of nearness
The birth of Christ is the promise of nearness. When Jesus came to earth He came as a human being. In doing so, Christ bridged the gap between divinity and humanity. He forever fused together the Divine life with the human life.
It’s stunning to think about this truth. No other god of human imagination has ever come to us. We have always imagined that we are supposed to climb our way into heaven and come to God. But the stunning news of the incarnation is that God Himself has put on human skin and come to us!
He hasn’t just come into our neighborhood, He has come into our existence! When Christ came as a human being heaven and earth fused together. Any separation between heaven and earth was removed the moment Christ took on Human flesh. A collision takes place in the birth of Jesus. Heaven and earth collide and where they were two there is now one.
Jesus Christ is Emanuel; the “God with us.” God is not the far-away-God; God is the right-here-and-right-now God!
The promise that the incarnation announces to us is the eternal closeness of God. We are no longer allowed to picture God as a distant far away being. We now see God as the right-here God! He has come, bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh. He has joined all humanity to Himself, and therefore He has removed any distance between the two.
The incarnation means that “looking for God”, and “pressing into God” is no longer allowed!
We don’t serve a God who demands for us to climb up into heaven to meet with Him. Our God is the God who comes down to us. He is Emanuel!
We don’t “press into God”, in the incarnation God has “pressed into us!” God has joined Himself with our humanity!
We don’t “look for God”, in the incarnation God has “found us!” Once and for all Christ has come into the world, sought us out, and ravished our hearts with His great love.
The incarnation promises the eternal closeness of God. He is right here, right now. He has made humanity His home!
2. The promise of forgiveness
In John 12:47 Jesus says, “I did not come to judge the world, but to save it.” The incarnation of Christ is the promise of free-for-nothing forgiveness!
When Jesus came to the world, He did not come as Santa Claus!
Listen to the way Robert Capon puts it (click HERE for the full quote):
The words of that dreadful Christmas song sum up perfectly the only kind of messianic behavior the human race, in it’s self-destructive folly, is prepared to accept: ‘He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice; he’s going to find out whose naughty and nice’ … He (Jesus) will come to the worlds sins with no list to check, no test to grade, no debts to collect, no scores to settle. He will wipe away the handwriting that was against us and nail it to His cross. (Col. 2:14) He will save, not some minuscule coterie of good little boys and girls with religious money in their piggy banks, but all the stone-broke, deadbeat, overextended children of this world whom He, as the son of man- the Holy Child of God, the ultimate Big Kid, if you please – will set free in the liberation of His death.
When Jesus came to the earth He didn’t come with a list of moral or religious tests to pass in order for us to get on His “nice” list. Jesus didn’t come to see if you’ve been naughty or nice this year. Jesus came to save the world, not to judge the world.
The incarnation is not the announcement of another religion. The incarnation is the announcement of the end of religion!
Religion, the way I see it, is the human focused attempt to use external ordinances, moral behaviors and religious duties to get on God’s good side. But Christ comes bearing good news- everyone’s on God’s good side! No one is outside of His grace, mercy, forgiveness, and love. No matter how many times your name has landed on the naughty list, Christ still comes and He still saves you in His death.
The incarnation is the promise of free-for-nothing forgiveness. The incarnation announces that salvation is God’s business- He saves us single-handedly! There is no bad thing you have every done, or ever will do that can hold a candle to the outrageous Grace of God!
3. The promise of love
“God so loved the world..” Ultimately, the incarnation of Christ is all about the love of God. Jesus came because He was madly in love with you!
We often think of the cross as the ultimate display of God’s love, to which I would agree, but just don’t be too quick to ignore the incarnation. Christ came to earth! He took upon Himself the fallen nature of Adam, and He carried it to the cross for us, and as us. He came to show us how extraordinary His love for us is!
The incarnation is the stunning truth that God is on our side! He is for us! Jesus came to the earth because He loves us too much to leave us in our sinful mess. He came to us out of unconditional love, and a burning desire to see us restored back into relationship with God.
The incarnation is the promise that we are unconditionally loved!
When Jesus came to the earth He came because He loves us, and because that love for us has no end. Nothing can separate us from the Father’s love. He will go to any length and do anything just to show us that He loves us, He cares for us, and He wants to best for us!
This Christmas know this: He loves you! See the birth of Christ, see His love for you, and let His love overwhelm your heart! May the Father’s embrace encounter your heart as you meditate on this beautiful reality of Christmas. God loved the world so much that He sent His Son to save it!
The incarnation is so much more than just the beginning of Jesus’ life. The incarnation is the promise of God made manifest to the world. In Christ God has eternally promised closeness with humanity, forgiveness of sins, and a radical, unconditional love for all! Merry Christmas!
Many blessings this Christmas,
Stephen D Morrison
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