The Beauty of the Incarnation

As part of an assignment for my theology class this week, we were asked to reflect on our studies of Christology in the form of a Christmas meditation entitled “Why All The Fuss About Christmas?” This excercise has reminded me of the incredible beauty and grace of Christ as incarnate Son of God. So, I’d like to share it here with you.

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John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (ESV)
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Christmas is a time to thankfully reflect upon the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, and our Redeemer. It is a time when we remember his humble beginnings; born in a manger, of a virgin, of the small town of Bethlehem, and a political refugee. And we remember that it is from these humble beginnings that salvation has come to humanity. For this was no ordinary birth. This birth was spoken of by prophets and heralded by angels. It was in this birth that God the Son entered intimately into the history of humanity for the purpose of offering himself, without blemish, as a holy blood offering for the atonement of all sin.

But what does this really mean? Is this some abstract concept for theologians to discuss, without any real meaning for the lives of believers? And why, really, is there all this fuss about Christmas anyway?

John 1:14 begins with this simple phrase; and the word became flesh, and dwelt among us. In this phrase resides the mystery of Christ. The Word, God the Son, through whom all things were created, took on the form of a man at a single point in history. He did this in order to become the one mediator capable of reconciling humanity to God. He freely chose to “take on flesh”, with all of its limitations, and became both fully God and fully man.

In this union of God and humanity, Christ was born of a virgin, grew to manhood, and with his Baptism was ordained for his mission to suffer unto death, even death on a cross, that the world might be saved through him. And so it was that he not only dwelt on earth, but he also dwelt among us, as one of us, but set apart as atonement for sin.

And now, as John writes, “we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.” In Christ we have seen the light of the glory of God, for this glory was his from even before the world was created. In prayer Christ asked, “Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.” It was not that this glory was ever taken from him by force, but rather for our sake he lowered himself, forsaking his divine power for a time, and reclaiming it once again with his victory over death. Yet even as a servant, Christ radiated the glory of God. As Jesus himself said, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father”. But the story does not end here. For through his sacrifice, Christ has invited us to become glorified with him:

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one…”

So, why all this fuss about Christmas? It is a time for recognizing that the goodness of God is so great, that he was willing to communicate his love for us on personal terms, though we are undeserving. It is a reminder that through Christ’s birth, hope came to the world. And above all, it is a reminder that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life”.

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