Updated: Mar 7
At this time of year we love to read the stories of Joseph and Mary; how they came to Bethlehem; how baby Jesus was born; and how the Wiseman came bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Nothing sets the Christmas mood more than the stories of baby Jesus, the manger, the shepherds, and the magi following the star in the east.
We love that truth that the Christmas story shows forth the gift that God gave to the world, Jesus our Savior. Though the Jews reject the truth about Jesus, they had been waiting for him long before the days of Isaiah:
Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. [Isaiah 9:7 NKJV]
Humanity has always needed Jesus to come in the form of a baby so that we could become free of our sin and have salvation:
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. [John 3:16 NKJV]
John 1:14 tells us that Jesus, the Word of God, was made flesh and dwelt among us. John went on to say, ". . .and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." This was God coming down from glory to provide for us. The gift of Christmas was our Savior, Jesus Christ.
When Jesus explained his relationship with God the Father, he used the parable of the vine and branches, (John 15:1-17). Jesus shows how the Son and the Father are one in spirit and purpose while each one still maintains their own identities. This was a new concept that had not been revealed by God until He was able to come in the form of a man and present this truth in person. By this, the Father is working through the Son for the redemption of the world while teaching the truths of His revelation about himself. The parable presents how the branches that come from the vine, brings fruit because it is from the vine. That fruit is the continuing gospel that brings salvation to those who will believe, who in turn share the same gospel that continues to grow new branches and produces new fruit.
In the book of John, the beloved disciple continues to reveal layer after layer of the hidden riches of the gospel as he shares the relationship between the human being of Jesus and the divine of the Christ. This has always been a problem for the human psyche: that God, who is an eternal, omniscient, and omnipotent being, can indwell with that which is temporal, changing, and limited to time and space; much less be incarnate as man, who is sinful. How can this merger of magnificence abide without conflict? It is only possible in the person of Jesus the son of Mary. His divine spirit motivated Jesus' activities, allowing him to become humble and obedient to the divine, even unto death on the cross, (Philippians 2:8). This is why the "Word became flesh and dwelt among us."
Throughout the gospel of John, Jesus shows himself to be a human that is typical of a son. This is important because Jesus would have to be a typical human being with no extraordinary power beyond what is available to anyone who asks of the Father, in order for his life to example victory over sin. Otherwise, humanity could not attain power over sin. As the son of God, in flesh, he had to show us his will in complete harmony with the will of God, before we could believe that He is the Son of God. This connection makes it possible for the word to say, "Yet to all who received him, to those who believe in his name, he gives the right to become the children of God", (John 1:12).
Wow! As we come to understand the depths of truth that Jesus came down, so we too can be sons and daughters with God the creator, just as Jesus is the Son of God, our world expands beyond human experience and we are free from the works of sin.
Sin cannot hold us captive during the Christmas season because He came down!
Our experience changes from a story-telling event to a spiritual encounter with the Holy God.
All because He came down.
Hallelujah! Christmas is more than presents, lights, and seasonal mystery. Christmas is Jesus coming down and indwelling as flesh among us. He was a baby, but now He is the indwelling God that brings us into the experience of God the Father, who is almighty and eternal.
It is not enough to just sing the songs of the season or read the stories when the experience of God as a gift becomes embedded in your soul. Joy, peace, comfort; all the promises that were proclaimed to the shepherds on that first Christmas, continue to move across the centuries, as we too have joy, peace, and comfort.
Let the magic of Christmas fill you this year with the experience of Christ coming down and dwelling with you. Enjoy His presence as the Holy Spirit confirms all truth that Jesus is your Savior. Share this good news with everyone so they too can know that He has come down to dwell in them.
Merry Christmas and may the gift of Christ Jesus enrich you this year! Amen!