“Christmas in Bethlehem. The ancient dream: a cold, clear night made brilliant by a glorious star, the smell of incense, shepherds and wise men falling on their knees in adoration of the sweet baby, the incarnation of perfect love.” – Lucinda Franks – American Writer
INCARNATION – means a person who embodies in the flesh a deity, spirit, or abstract quality. In Christian theology, The Incarnation is the embodiment of God the Son in human flesh as Jesus Christ. Though December was probably not Jesus’ birthday (scholars believe it was actually Spring), the Incarnation is what many celebrate today. As we gleefully open gifts and share experiences with family and friends, let’s not forget that God’s PRESENCE is His PRESENT to us. When the angels approached Joseph and Mary, their salutations were the fulfillment of prophecy in Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Immanuel means God with us. Jesus Christ was not just an historical figure whose life we can read about. He was not just another baby being born into humble circumstances. He was and is the King of all other kings and Lord of all other lords. He is the glorious Ruler of the universe. Paul said, “For in him dwells the fullness of the Godhead in bodily form. (Col. 2:9) Godhead is the Biblical word for the concept of the Trinity—Father, Son & Holy Spirit.
Jesus’ name means Savior. Christ means one who is anointed. The name Jesus Christ means that He is the One empowered to rescue us from the eternal penalty and consequences of sin and the Fall. He came to restore us to a right relationship with God the Father and to offer us the free gift of an eternal quality of life as we identify with Him. Joseph was encouraged to maintain his engagement to his mysteriously pregnant future wife because, “the One conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a Son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, (Yahweh is salvation) because He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20b-21) This same Jewish baby boy who was born in a manger would be crucified, die, be buried, and resurrect from the dead. He will one day soon return as Lord and King of His Heavenly Kingdom.
Many people experience sadness, grief, and loneliness during this season. They wonder if they are really loved, particularly as they mourn for loved ones no longer with them. Today, I am at the funeral celebrating the life of my Aunt Dorothy, the last member of my nuclear family, which included my mom who adopted me, my aunt, and my grandfather. “Aunt Dot,” the family historian, prayer warrior with blackened knees to prove it, faithful member of her church for over 80 years, and maker of the best macaroni and cheese. died at the age of 97 years. All of my nuclear family members lived past the age of 90, what a blessing! I am extraordinarily grateful.
Still for many, this season’s Christmas songs, trees, gifts, and even the presence of other people leaves us wanting. It’s supposed to. We have a God-sized hole inside that only Jesus Christ can fill. I want to reassure you today of God’s love for you. Whether you are rich or poor, young or old, no matter your ethnicity, culture or background…it doesn’t even matter what you’ve done…the Incarnation both proves and demonstrates God’s love for us.” God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love-not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take aw ay our sins.” (1 John 4:9-10) This is a gift you won’t want to return. The gift of God’s presence is one that will not break, rust, fade, tear or wear out. It’s a gift that all the money in the world can’t buy. It’s a gift that we can never work for nor repay. As you celebrate Advent, take a moment to thank the LORD for His indescribable gift!