The Ongoing Celebration

While sitting in my Manhattan office years ago as a missionary to my Jewish people, I answered the phone one December afternoon. On the other end of the line a man called to rail about Jesus not being born on December 25. In so many words I said, “Sir, whether Jesus was born on December 25th, I think we should remember and rejoice in the fact that Messiah was born. In fact, I think we should celebrate His birth every day of the year!” He didn’t have much to say after that and soon our phone call ended.

While the pomp and pageantry of the Christmas season evokes various external displays of remembrance and rejoicing surrounding the birth of Christ, there’s no need to fold up the party after December 25th has come and gone.

Actually, once the parties, plays and parades end, the tree and lights put away, the gift wrapping and boxes all thrown away, and the normal routines of life again take hold, it will serve us well to continue the celebration of Jesus’ birth in our hearts.

For the life, death, resurrection, and imminent return of our Lord Jesus are all connected to this glorious event called the Incarnation. “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). Immanuel – God with us! Hallelujah!

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made”  (John 1:1-3).

“And the Word became 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” (John 1:14).

Michael Riccardi, in an online article entitled “The Peculiar Glory of the Incarnation,” notes:

God. Becoming man. The infinite, eternal, self-existent, self-sufficient, almighty God, without shedding His divine nature, taking upon Himself—in addition to His divine nature—a human nature—truly becoming one of us. In the incarnation of the Son of God, it can properly be said that the immutable, unchangeable God became what He wasn’t, while never ceasing to be what He was.

The incomprehensibility of that thought alone is sufficient to bow our hearts and intellects before divine wisdom in worship. This kind of mind-bending wisdom is so lofty—so far beyond our natural understanding—that we wouldn’t believe it if Scripture didn’t teach it so plainly.

Yes, the incarnation itself is awe-inspiring and should lead us to worship. And yet there’s more!

The why of the incarnation? He was born to die, and rise again from the dead, conquering the power of sin and death, so that we may have abundant and eternal life in Him:

”For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

“Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

The profundity of the incarnation is simply and powerfully summed up by CS Lewis, who stated in Mere Christianity: 

“The Son of God became man to enable men to become the sons of God.”

But there’s more! Just as God fulfilled His promise of the Incarnation, He will some soon tomorrow fulfill His promise to return and establish His Kingdom. Isaiah 9:6-7 powerfully connects the incarnation to the return of the Lord Jesus:

“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”

So enjoy the celebration of the birth of Jesus, remembering and rejoicing in Who He is and all He has done. But don’t stop the celebration once the calendar turns to 2023. Keep celebrating  in your heart! Merry Christmas – not just on December 25 – but each and every day!

“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:33, 36).2:7).

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