Christ and Christmas: Life Changing: Part I
A Christmas and Everyday Wish
Introduction: The two series: Christ and Christmas: Life Changing addresses the supernatural and radical beauty and reality of the God-man. The true beauty of Christmas is easily missed. The tendency to miss it is already there. Christians so easily get sucked-up into the vortex culture’s approach to a day and not a person except self. What is your take on Christ and Christmas: Life Changing? Which comes first?
Christmas is an interesting time of year. There is so much hustle and bustle. Think with me as we go back to the birth of Christ as given in Luke 2:1-20. Besides Mary, Joseph, and animals, the lowly shepherds who were considered second-class citizens were privileged and blessed to be one of the first people to witness the child Jesus. The angels introduced Jesus to them as Savior King (Luke 2:10-12). Imagine God’s choice of the audience that He first presented King Jesus. We don’t how many of them became believers.
Matthew wrote that Gentile wise men later sought out the Jewish Christ and King in order to worship Him (Matthew 2:1-12). They came a great distance. Worshiped Him they did humbling themselves and presenting not only themselves but material riches as well (Matthew 2:11-12). We don’t know what became of them. The Triune God chose shepherds – the lowly and insignificant – and Gentiles to first see Jesus and acknowledge His birth and Kingship. Mary and Joseph must have marveled at these things but Mary stored these things in her heart – she remembered (Matthew 2:19, 51)! This must have sustained her as she gazed at her crucified Son.
Please ask yourself: who is number one on your list and who do you worship and why. Those are life-defining questions and that require life-defining answers. Only truth sets you free (John 8:31-32). That truth is Christ who indwelt Him. The Spirit is also truth (John 14:17; 16:13). Not only are they Truth but they give truth. Truth is known by the person who has union – a relationship – with Christ. The believer, and only the believer, is Holy Spirit indwelt, energized, and directed (John 3:3-8; 6:60-64). He lives as a child of God.
Don’t neglect the opportunity to recall again the gift of redemption by the Triune God from eternity past that continues into the present and that will be consummated in the future. To say the gift originated in eternity past is somewhat of a misnomer. It may imply that there was a time – even that statement is a misnomer because there is no time in eternity. Redemption: its plan and the how of it was always on the mind of God. It became an earthly reality at a time and place (Galatians 4:4-7; Ephesians 1:10-14).
How are you doing in the area of knowing God as your God who is Creator and Controller? Answer the question properly: why did Jesus come God’s way – and you will be on the road to mining the depths of God’s wisdom (Proverbs 2:1-10). Thinking God’s thoughts after Him are linked to godly desires and vice versa. Godly actions will always follow. God is glorified and life is simplified. God’s truth (which is actually a misnomer) sets people free. All others are counterfeit and masquerades.
1. Blessings to you and your families as you seek and find Him. Gather around Christ the true tree of life.
2. Will seeking and finding Him look like?
3. How are you doing both of them?
4. What has been the result?
5. What is your next step?
Christ and Christmas: Life Changing: Part II
Continuing our discussion, Christ and Christmas: Life Changing consider the season. As we are in or will be in the Christmas season and Christmas day approaches various groups of people have thoughts and wants. Actions follow. This is the way God created man: thoughts, desires, and actions are linked. Many think of Christmas in terms of feelings. The Hallmark Movie Series highlight the feeling aspect of the Christmas season. Those movies are on all year long pushing subjectivity!
At Christmas time people generally feel good and are inclined to fellowship and even to give. The Christian may even announce Happy Birthday to Jesus. He may go a step further and consider the supernatural birth of Christ and the Incarnation. Others simply focus on the good feelings, friendships, and family. Often good feelings as result do something nice to another are emphasized. I wonder how God fits into the picture. It does not seem that He does. You don’t need God for good feelings. Christmas time is truly an interesting time. I think the Christmas spirit ads the world sees it is being used as an antidote for bad feelings which are the results of turmoil in the world and churning hearts of believers and unbelievers.
Consider several life-changing and radical truths:
- The Incarnation is the doctrine that describes the radical and supernatural event in which Jesus Christ became flesh. It was not the Triune God but the second person of the Trinity that assumed or took on human flesh. Humanity was added to His divine nature – one person two natures and neither nature was changed. He was not a hybrid or mixture but fully God and fully man. He became at a point in history what He had not been eternally.
Many people deny the fact of the supernatural in general. They assume reality is all in the physical and material. So if no Creator and creation there is no Virgin Birth. Removing miracles and the supernatural except perhaps demons destroys Creator and the Savior. He removes the Creator-creature distinction and attempts to bring God, if He exists, down to man’s level and elevates man. In the place of the true God, the one mantra is all is god and god is in all.
Jesus was actively involved in taking on a human nature. To His preexistent person, He added a human nature. His preexistence is assumed (John 1:1; 6:38; 8:56-58; Galatians 4:4; Philippians 2:6-7). If there was no eternal Son of God, there would be no Incarnation. The two are linked supernaturally. And yet He came to His own but they did not receive Him (John 1:4-5, 8-10). He was rejected! Such is the reality of sinful humanity and hard hearts.
- In the Incarnation we find the infinite and finite linked: mysteriously and miraculously. The infinite can and does enter into finite relations and the supernatural can and does enter into the historical life of the universe. The Transcendent becomes immanent. Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, eternally and forever begotten by the Father (this term has nothing to with His eternal preexistence) took to Himself a true human nature. This fact is beyond human comprehension and speaks to the inscrutability and wisdom of God.
- Yet, we know for a fact that Jesus became man all the while continuing to be God. He is the God-Man, two natures, one person forever. Again, this is beyond human comprehension.
- The Incarnation was necessary if the Triune God was to fulfill His redemptive plan. Man sinned and only God could save. Sin entered into the world with God’s judgment of Adam after Adam’s first sin. The Incarnation was necessary for God to fulfill His promise given in Genesis 3:15. It is proper to say that the mysterious and miraculous beyond all human comprehension was conditioned by the presence of human sin. But there is more. All things are ordained by God. The fall did not catch God by surprise. Neither did the Incarnation.
- The Incarnation highlights the functional unity of the Trinity. Every member of the Trinity was involved in the Incarnation (Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:35; John 1:14; Acts 2:29-32; Romans 8:2-3, 9; Galatians 4:4-7; Ephesians 1:13-14; Philippians 2:7). The Incarnation as is every aspect of redemption/salvation is Intratrinitarian in nature. The Father planned, the Son secured, and the Holy Spirit applied the work of Christ for salvation. Another way to express this Intratrinitarian truth comes from Ephesians 2:18 and 3:12. The believer is saved to God for God in Christ and by and through the Holy Spirit.
- The Incarnation was conditioned by human sin and the presence of sinners – no sin, no sinners, no Savior, and no Incarnation (Matthew 9:13; 12:7; Luke 5:31-32; 19:10; John 3:16, 17-21; Galatians 4:4; Philippians 2:2-5; 1 John 3:8).
- As noted earlier, the shepherds, considered second-class citizens, and the wise men, Gentiles from far away, knew Jesus to be, not simply the Christ, but King Christ as they honored and glorified Him.
What does this have to do with you and me? The Incarnation is the beginning of the fulfillment of the great Immanuel principle (God’s presence prophesized in Genesis 3:15). Jesus was born in a lonely deserted place surrounded only by animals and Mary and Joseph. The place points to the hardness of our hearts and points to Jesus’ desire to please His Father. Thus Christ humbled himself under God’s mighty hand. Just think, the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Creator and Controller of the universe, came down to earth and hid His glory so He could live and die perfectly in the place of wicked, sinful, perverse people such as you and I (Romans 5:6-10). Moreover, this resurrection life is part of eternal life which begins now and is a foretaste of heaven (John 17:3; Romans 6:9-11; Colossians 3:1-3; 1 John 3:1-3).
Such is the Christmas story. It is reality that is easily misinterpreted and denied. It is a joyous time because Christ’s birth and His humility declared it so (Luke 2:9-11). From eternity past, the Triune God designed redemption for sinful men through a voluntary, spotless, undefiled, bloody sacrifice. This Christmas get a grip on God’s greatness by focusing on the incomparable doctrine of the Incarnation. The Incarnation is the Triune God’s means by which Christ was constituted the Messiah, the Messianic Son of God. Only then would creation and redemption be properly linked. In God’s timing, the new heavens and the earth will follow and all things will be made new (Matthew 19:28; Revelation 21-22).
1. Write out the significance of the Incarnation.
2. How do you respond to the Triune God given that Christ came to under earth under the guidance of Holy Spirit in order to please the Father?
3. Salvation is an Intratrinitarian activity that deserves your full attention. See Matthew 1:20-23; Luke 1:29-35; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal.4:4 and determine whether you agree or not. Write out your answers.