It’s that time again! The beautiful Fall colors that lit up the countryside with brilliant yellow, and bright orange have all disappeared. The local department stores have announced their “one time only” sales. Our televisions are filled with commercials for the latest toys that thrill our children at the very thought of having that one thing they can’t live without. The Grinch, George Bailey, Eddie Griswold, and my favorite, Ralphie Parker (who desperately wants a Genuine Red Ryder 200 Shot Carbine Action Air Rifle for Christmas), all find their way into our homes as well as our hearts and bring the much need cure for that holiday nostalgia.
Countless hours are spent preparing food and even more are used to gorge ourselves with one last bite. It’s Christmas time of course! And if you haven’t already gotten your holiday shopping done, you may be in trouble. But, we must be careful that in all of our preparations we don’t forget the purpose for Christmas. It seems that in the rush of the season we tend to forget the real reason for the season. As we scurry to gather gifts for people we don’t even like, we forget about the greatest gift of all; Jesus.
“And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the son of the highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever: and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” Luke 1:31
Two thousand years ago, God gave the gift of His Son and it’s important that we understand the significance of that gift. This holiday season we are not celebrating the fact that He was born in a manger but simply the fact that He was born. God came down through the womb of a virgin girl and the Creator lived among His creation. The Independent One became all dependent on one teenage girl. Thus He is named Emmanuel – “God with us” (Matt. 1:23). The word, “Incarnation” is used by theologians to describe the invisible God becoming visible in the form of Christ. The word “incarnation” literally means “en-fleshment”. John chapter one says it this way, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today and forever
Christmas didn’t change Jesus. It only changed how we see Him. He was still the same Jesus before that auspicious night when there was no room in the Inn. He was still the same Jesus before Mary said, “Be it unto me according to thy Word”. He was still the same Jesus when Nebuchadnezzar looked with amazement into the fiery furnace and said, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God”(Daniel 3:25). And He was the same Jesus that God the Father looked at and said, “Let US make man in OUR image and after OUR likeness” (Genesis 1:26).
So, what is it that changed on Christmas day two thousand years ago? Humanity got a revelation of Jesus! We are not celebrating the fact that Jesus was born into existence but rather that He was born into our lives. A revelation is nothing new. In fact a revelation is only the revealing of what has been there all along. The incarnation was simply a fresh revelation of Jesus. Now God had a face!
This is what we are celebrating! The infinite became finite and the unknowable became known by many. We are celebrating the fact that the Christ of Christmas is no stranger to this planet and there is no reason that He should be a stranger to you. It’s not difficult for most to understand that God already knew them. He knows everything about you; including the things you try to hide from everyone else. But, He wanted so desperately for you to know Him that He stripped Himself of His imperial garments and put on the homespuns of humanity. This is the glory of Christmas; that you can know Him!
Who do you say that He is?
The disciples were exhausted after a long week of ministry. They had just witnessed their Master feed over four thousand people with only seven loaves and a few fishes. Yet, in the face of this miracle they still hadn’t received a revelation of Jesus. Out of frustration Jesus asks them, “Whom do men say that I am?” The disciples by this time had heard every rumor under the sun and they began to relate to Him all they had heard, “some say that thou art John the Baptist: some Elias; and others Jeremias, or one of the prophets.” Interrupting His illustrious twelve as they all shot off at the mouth, Jesus asked this all-telling question, “But who do YOU say that I am?”
I think that we would all agree that it really doesn’t matter what other people think about Jesus, but I want to take it a step further. It doesn’t even matter what you think about Jesus. Jesus didn’t ask them, “Who do you THINK I am?” He asked them, “Who do you SAY that I am?” What you believe is meaningless if it stays tucked away and hidden from the world. Romans 10:10 says, “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the MOUTH CONFESSION is made unto salvation.”
Out of the silence we hear Peter that big two-fisted fisherman with steadiness in his voice and stability in his gaze, he declared, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” With relief Jesus exclaimed,
Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee but my father in heaven. And I say unto you, that thou art Peter and on this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
What just happened? Peter got a revelation of Jesus! The “rock” that Jesus was referring to, against which the gates of hell could not prevail, is the “revelation” of Him. It was Christmas all over again! But what would Christmas be without presents? Jesus said, “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven…” This is the real reason for the season. You have an opportunity to get to know Him up close and personal. And when you get to know Him the Bible says, “the Truth that you know will make you free.”
This holiday season when you’re with your loved ones and friends, you will find that some may ignore Him and others may even mock Him. Regardless of your situation, all that matters is who you say that He is. As we commemorate this most holy day, be sure to tell everyone who Jesus is to you and who He can be to them if they get the Christmas revelation.