Christmas is the favorite time of year for many people. Though the days are short and cold in the northern hemisphere, there is an abundance of Christmas lights, family get-togethers and special traditions. My neighborhood is especially well decorated this year. But one thing really saddens me. The decorations include an abundance of fictional characters that appeal to children, but there are few that show the actual meaning of Christmas. There is little of Christ.
To be fair, it is almost certain that Jesus wasn’t born on December 25. There is a small chance that the Wise Men visited about this time. Jesus was likely born in June, but that doesn’t really matter. We are celebrating a historical event of monumental import to every person to this day. Even if they do not know it. Christmas celebrates the God (specifically the Son of God) becoming human. This wasn’t done without purpose. It was a major step in an ancient plan.
The being who created everything you see, including you, has characteristics (call it a personality) that has been revealed through self-disclosure and actions over the millennia. First, God really loves His creation and has a special fondness for humans, even though we try His patience severely. Next, when God establishes a Law (records it somehow), His personal integrity will not allow Him to compromise or ignore it. Because of the first characteristic God wants to save every one of us and keep us around Him. Because of the second God must damn every one of us and send us away permanently. A big dilemma. So God has created this elaborate work around, and He created it long ago.
The Son of God (a divine being who is part of the one God) would become a human being born of only one human parent. The result would be a sinless human being who did not have a sinful nature. All the rest of us have inherited a corruption, likely a part of our DNA, that makes evil a part of us. But not Jesus. Jesus would have to remain sinless throughout His life. He did. His fulfillment of God’s law would satisfy this requirement for the whole species (just the way God works). The required damnation that we have all brought on ourselves would fall on Jesus as He intentionally died on the cross. God then connects people to Jesus “by faith”, which is much more complicated than us merely believing God’s promise, but that is the way we experience it usually.
This whole process doesn’t happen unless the Son of God chooses to become “incarnate” (in human flesh). Here is an insider quote of the Son of God before it all happened:
“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,Hebrews 10:5-7
but a body have you prepared for me;
6 in burnt offerings and sin offerings
you have taken no pleasure.
7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,
as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’”
Clearly the Son of God understands what will happen and is willing to proceed. The difficulties and sacrifice of such a move is impossible for us to comprehend. But it happened, conceived 3 BC in Nazareth, born 2 BC in Bethlehem just south of Jerusalem.
It is relevant to us all because there is no substitute for what Jesus did. Our destiny after our deaths all hinge on whether we are “in Christ” or not. The purpose of our lives hinge on it as well. We have a divinely given purpose which God prepares for us and can lead to additional, unmerited reward if we are forgiven through Jesus or no matter how productive our lives are they will be eclipsed by our sin before God.
Is there proof of this? Or is this just another strange Christmas myth? Read some of the other essays in this blog. There is a ton of proof, but if you resolutely don’t want this narrative to be the truth no amount of proof will help you. I pray that you will believe. Merry Christmas.