“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
As we approach Christmas, let’s spend a few weeks looking at some of the amazing truths associated with this special time on our calendar in an effort to understand the true meaning for the season.
When Did Christmas Begin?
Have you ever wondered when Christmas began? Now I am not referring to the celebration on December 25, since we do not know exactly when He was born. Nor am I referring to the time in history when that date was decided upon as being the day to celebrate. Instead I am asking a different question, that is, when did the earthly life of Jesus Christ really begin?
John 1:14 tells us that “the Word (referring to Jesus Christ) became flesh and dwelt among us.” At what point does a person become flesh? Is it the day their born, or is it sometime earlier? And if it is earlier, is it in the third trimester or the second? Or is it at conception? The right answer is the last one. At the specific point in time when the women’s egg is fertilised, a person begins to exists. At that point, two living cells come together and transform into another living cell that from that point on can only be referred to as a person.
This therefore means that Christmas began nine-months before Bethlehem – at the point when the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary and Jesus was conceived (see Luke 1:35). So in reality, the God-man Jesus, spent His first nine months on earth as a pre-born baby – fully alive, fully human and fully God. That is why the ancient creeds affirm that Jesus was “conceived of the Holy Spirit.”
John 1:14 may not be a text that you would usually consider at Christmas, but to be honest, without it, the rest of the Christmas story has no meaning.
The Glory of the Incarnation
God becoming man is referred to theologically as the Incarnation, and to be honest, it is a hard concept to fully understand. Even in the early church there were many debates about what it really meant. Some taught that Jesus wasn’t really a man, but that He just looked like a man – a teaching called Docetism from the Greek word dokeo, meaning “to seem”. Others taught that He had the body of a man but His soul was divine and not human. Still others said Jesus was two people in one body – sort of half-God and half-man. And unbelievers said it was all nonsense – that Jesus wasn’t God at all – and claimed that He was an ordinary person like you and me with a sin nature just like everyone else on planet earth.
But all those ideas are wrong and go against the clear teachings of Scripture. When Jesus was conceived in Mary’s womb, the infinite God took upon Himself something that was never part of His nature before, for in taking on the form of a tiny unborn baby boy, eternal God added humanity to His divine nature. This has to be the greatest miracle of all time that defies all logic and cannot be sufficiently explained. What makes it even more astounding is that even though God became man, He did not cease to be God. Though He added manhood to His being, He did not subtract His deity. He was 100% God and 100% man – the God-man.
So as Christmas draws near, spend some time pondering on the gloriousness of that truth. Consider what it means for mankind that the almighty God became man. That the knowledge of God was somehow contained within a human brain, and that the unconditional, everlasting love, poured out from a fleshly heart. Consider the very Word of God somehow being spoken through human lips, the mercy and healing power of God working through a human hand, and the dust of the earth being walked upon by human feet carrying God in the flesh.
All for the purpose of seeking and saving the lost (Luke 19:10). That’s you, me and billions of others like us.
Just a Thought!
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