Well, it’s Christmas time again. You know, Christmas- the holiday that many associate with Christmas trees and eggnog, gifts and decorations, family, friends and “chestnuts roasting on an open fire”. Of course, Christmas is also a time that many people associate with crowded malls, crazy shoppers and ridiculous commercialism. Do you ever get the feeling that people have missed the point of Christmas? And what exactly is the point of Christmas anyway?
Most of us are familiar with the Christmas story- how a young virgin named Mary (who many scholars believe was about 16 years old) was found to be pregnant with a child of God’s Holy Spirit and how she gave birth to a son named Jesus out with the animals because there was no room for them in the Inn (you can read the story for yourself in Luke 1 and 2). Lots of people know the story of Christmas but how many ask why?
It has been The Doctor’s experience that God always leads by example and we find this to be true with the Christmas story also. When humanity’s relationship with God was broken by our rebellion against Him, God’s response was to say in effect, “I’ll take care of this personally”. According to the Apostle Paul, here’s how He did it….
“He sent his own Son in a human body like ours– except that ours are sinful– and destroyed sin’s control over us by giving himself as a sacrifice for our sins” (Romans 8:3).
You see, the child born to Mary was no ordinary baby. Jesus was the God-man, fully God and fully human. As God, Jesus maintained a pure, Holy, sinless nature. From His mother, Jesus inherited a physical, human existence and those things that are associated with it.
Jesus looked like us, sounded like us and indeed, He was one of us. An examination of Jesus’ genetic makeup would have revealed Him to be fully human. But He was not one of us. He was born into this world but He was not of this world. He was like us, yet He was not like us- for we are naturally rebellious against God and Jesus was not. He always did what was pleasing in God’s sight. Though He was sinless, Jesus came in the likeness of our sinful bodies and through His death, took the punishment we deserved for rebelling against God.
Think for a moment about what occurred in that innkeeper’s manger so long ago. Although Jesus was God in human flesh, did it ever occur to you that…
-Jesus got tired
-Jesus got hungry
-Jesus sweated when it was hot and shivered when it was cold
-Jesus had to attend to bodily functions like anyone else
-Jesus experienced the entire range of human emotion just as you and I do?
How humiliating for the all-powerful God to bring Himself down to the level of our existence! Yet Jesus did. Now someone might say, “Why was this important, and what does it have to do with Christmas?” Well, here’s the reason as found in God’s Word…
“…it was necessary for Jesus to be like us, his brothers, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God, a Priest who would be both merciful to us and faithful to God in dealing with the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17)./
So God became a man in the Person of Jesus Christ and dwelt among us. But God not only became a Man- God became a Man who subjected himself to the effects of the same environment that humanity had created by rejecting God. In becoming a Man, Jesus subjected Himself -not to the perfect world He had created- but to the world it had become due to humanity’s sin.
Because Jesus did this, no one can ever stand before God and say, “You’re God. You’re all powerful. You sit up there in heaven…
-You never experienced the pain I went through…”
-You have no idea how difficult life was for me…”
-You can’t appreciate the suffering I had to endure…”
-You just don’t know what it was like…”
No, God knows exactly what it was like. God knows all about pain and suffering. The Bible tells us that the Messiah was man of sorrows, acquainted with grief (See Isaiah 53:3). He is personally familiar with love and rejection, joy and humiliation, happiness, sadness and every human emotion. No one will be ever be able to truthfully say to God, “You don’t understand”. Why? Because God became a man and dwelt among us in the Person of Jesus Christ! And because He did, He knows those things that you are going through right now and stands ready to help you if you will turn to Him.
This is true meaning of Christmas. Christmas is not about the gifts we have received from others- it is about the gift that God has given to us, the gift of His Son.
May each of you continually experience God’s choicest blessings in the coming year and beyond!