There would be no Christmas without Christ. Christmas without Christ is only a festive feel-good time that has no eternal or impactful significance. That Christ was born is a historical reality. While His birth is confirmed by writings even outside Scriptural references, the Scripture is our best source for discovering who this Jesus is and why His birth is so celebrated. Matthew, writing with the Jewish reader in mind, beautifully paints Jesus as the King of the Jews, the One that has legal right the throne of David and who even commands from afar Wise Men from the East to come and worship He who is born King of the Jews. Luke, writing with the Gentile reader in mind, vividly paints Jesus as the Son of Man, the Perfect Man, the Man for all men, and descending from Adam came to do what Adam could not do. As the Second Adam He came to live a perfect life, defeat temptation and be victorious over the Foe who defeated the first Adam. Mark, writing with the Roman reader in mind, humbly portrays Christ as the Servant of God. Mark doesn’t focus on the birth of Christ, but focuses on His deeds. With almost half the Roman Empire being slaves the genealogy and birth of a servant was unimportant in the Roman mind only one’s deeds, and Christ had plenty of them!
Ah, but John….He traces Jesus’ genealogy and birth not from Adam, Abraham, or David, but He goes all the way back to the beginning….not just the beginning of time but before time….he reaches back into eternity! So much is packed into John 1:1-3, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.”
These verses proclaim that Christmas is about when God became a man.
It is clear by “the Word” in John 1:1-3 the Apostle is speaking of Christ. The Greek word for “Word” is Logos, meaning that through Christ God has spoken, He has declared Himself, He has expressed Himself to humanity. Jesus is the incarnate Logos, the incarnate Word. Notice what John says about this Babe whose cry broke the silence of the Bethlehem night.
First, Christ is eternal. “In the beginning was the Word” (Jh 1:1). Christ was always with God. There never was a time when the Word (Christ) was not.
Second, Christ is equal to God. “The Word was with God” (Jh 1:1). The word “with” means face to face with God. This speaks of equality and intimacy. Christ was not lesser than God, but equal with God.
Third, Christ was God. “The Word was God” (Jh 1:1). Christ is eternally God, is equal with God and is God Himself. Christ is the fullness of God, the state of being God (Col. 2:9). As the Logos, Christ Jesus is God in self-revelation and redemption.
Fourth, Christ is the Creator. “All things were created by Him” (Jh 1:3). The Word in John 1:1-3 is the One of Genesis 1 who spoke by His Word all things into existence. The Word (Christ) created the universe, and at Bethlehem He came to visit the earth which He had created.
In 1:14 John reveals a profound truth. He writes that the Word who is eternal, is equal to God, who was God, and who created all things, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
We catch our breath at such a declaration. We are astonished at John’s pronouncement. We scratch our heads at its mystery and profoundness. We in stunned silence seek to grasp John’s words. What? Our God became flesh and dwelt among us….can it be? Yes, that is the profoundness, yet the simplicity of Christmas…the Babe found in the stable’s manger in Bethlehem was our God who had come to dwell among us. That is the wonder of Christmas. Christmas is about when God became a man.
A Greek philosopher once stated that if God was to ever make an impact upon earth, He would have to become a man. Well, in Christ God became flesh, full of grace and truth, and has dwelt among us. Because of our sinfulness we could never go to where He is, but in His holy-grace He clothed Himself in human flesh to come to where we are. The Creator became a man to do for us what we could never do for ourselves, to provide a perfect Sacrifice for our sins. As He hung upon the cross with His arms outstretched, in His loving grace He bid men to come and be embraced by His long arms of salvation. And those arms of sacrificial grace are sufficient to amass unto Himself all who will come unto Him.
As the shepherds hurried in the darkness of the night to see the Baby Jesus, their eyes were privileged to gaze upon Him who was the Light of the world and who had come to chase away the darkness in our lives. He who lay beneath the twinkling stars had created the stars. The powerful truths behind the words of John leave us in awe and drives us to our knees in worship. And as we gather around the cradle at Christmastime, we do so cognizant of the truth that the coming of Christ in history is the coming of God the Redeemer. In His coming He offered a Sacrifice rent from His very own heart. The Sacrifice was made to God by Himself in His Son, and it was made to His own holy nature on behalf of you and me.
Yes, Christmas is truly a time to celebrate, for our God became flesh and dwelt among us!!