This year is the first time in my life that I am truly celebrating Christmas. Let me explain: I have taken part in the celebrating the holiday ever since I was born. At first, course it was just about the presents and fun. Then as I began to get older I began to understand things more and more and the news of the birth of Jesus Christ started to become more significant and central.
But even after I grew up, truly understood the gospel and became a christian, although the news of the birth of Christ was central in my celebration of Christmas, I still did not see a true and lasting significance in it. Sure, maybe there was some emotional impact as a result of attending the church services, singing the songs, and spending time with fellow christians. But I never really saw a depth of significance in celebrating the birth of Christ.
That has all changed with the coming of this year’s holiday season because I was assigned to study and determine the focus of a three week sermon series on the topic of Christmas.
When the Bible speaks of Christmas, it specifically speaks of the incarnation of the Lord of the universe, and a critical and huge step in the accomplishment of the gospel (the overarching message of the entire Bible which shows to us the way to knowing and enjoying God). It is impossible to see the true significance of Christmas without seeing specifically how it fits into the whole story of the gospel.
When we see the role that the incarnation of the Son of God has in the gospel, we then see the deep and eternal significance that it has as a story. Studying this topic, there were a few reasons which stood out to me that the incarnation was an absolute necessity. I will only present the first one today:
The Son of God had to become man to suffer and die for our sin
The central problem between God and man, which the Bible presents, is sin. We live in his world, which is built by him and for him. Every single person who comes into this world rebels against that central fact, which is the greatest offense and rebellion on God that there could be.
The one and only price for sin is death. Jesus Christ, being both God and man was the only one that could have paid the price. God, being spirit could not die. Man being sinner could not pay. Being God, Jesus was perfectly pure and sinless. Being man he was able to die. God could not die for our sin. Man could not die for our sin. But the God-man could.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
The humility and simplicity of the birth in a stable points to the humility and suffering that he was to endure in his life for our sake. He took that infinite drop into our sin filled world so that we might be exalted to new life in him. He took our sin in order to give us his righteousness.
To the person who understands this, Christmas is much more than a jolly time with friends and family – it is a time pointing to the pivotal turn of life that we are able to experience as a result of all the Jesus Christ came down here to endure.
Alva McClain writes,
“It is utterly impossible, therefore, for the wise of this world to understand the Birth of Christ as an isolated event in history. The goal of Bethlehem was the Place of the Skull. The mystery of the Virgin Birth can be read only in the blazing light of Calvary. The Incarnation of our blessed Lord was the first historic step of the eternal God on His solemn march to the judgment of the Cross. The Manger and the Cross are joined inseparably in the redemptive purpose and plan of God. And what God hath joined together let no man put asunder.”
It is my prayer that we do not forget nor neglect the eternal significance of the humble coming of the Son of God into our world this Christmas to be the one to pay the price that we, who trust in him, will never know.