In the late 17th century, the English Parliament banned the celebration of Christmas. For almost twenty years, shops and markets were required to be open on that day, penalties were imposed on anyone holding or attending a special Christmas service, and public Christmas celebrations were abolished. No one could legally celebrate Christmas. No Christmas! What a dismal thought. I love the Christmas season. The special time with family, the Christmas carols, the abundance of food, and even the “holiday spirit” all bring me joy. But as Christians, we know that the central, all-important element of Christmas is the celebration of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ.
Have we ever stopped to ponder: What if there were no Christmas because Jesus Christ had not been born? What if God who is fully divine never chose to become fully man? What if Christ had not humbled Himself and left His heavenly throne to be born in a lowly manger in a grotto? What would be lost with no Incarnation?
Without Christ’s birth, there would be
- no redemption,
- no reconciliation with a just God,
- no righteousness of Christ imputed to us,
- no propitiation of God’s wrath,
- no restoration after repentance,
- no salvation unto eternal life,
- no sanctification unto Christ likeness,
- no indwelling Holy Spirit,
- and no living hope, just to name a few.
Without the Incarnation there would have been no cross and no resurrection.
The world increasingly marginalizes the Incarnation. John MacArthur wrote that the emphasis at Christmas tends to be on the infancy of Jesus rather than on His Deity. Even we Christians rejoice at Christmas that Jesus came to live and forget that He came to die. Jesus lived to do the Father’s will and to please His Father. Surely Luke 2 is a grand description of how the heavens glorified Jesus at His birth. But we would do well to be reminded at Christmas of the message of Hebrews 2:9 which describes why Jesus came:
But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
Simply put, Jesus came to die. The cries of the baby became the man’s cry, “It is finished.”
Christmas is a wonderful time of celebrating Jesus’ birth. Thanks be to God, Jesus did come! His blood-bought blessings for His children are real and totally sufficient for life here and for all eternity. He is the Prince of Peace, the Bread of Life, and the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Read through the Book of John in the weeks before Christmas and be amazed at the Living Word who became flesh and dwelt among us. While “Silent Night, Holy Night” plays softly, let us also have in the background of our Christmas meditations “Up from the Grave He Arose!” Thank you, Lord Jesus.