“In the beginning was the one who is called the Word. The Word was with God and was truly God. From the very beginning, the Word was with God. …The Word became a human being and lived here with us. We saw his true glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father. From him, all the kindness and all the truth of God have come down to us.” (John 1:1-2; 14 CEV)
There are many who assume Jesus’ birth was the beginning of Jesus. We forget that He was the eternal Son of God and part of the trinity of God with all the attributes of God. Many have let the swaddling cloths of the babe in a manger camouflage the fact that He is the King of Glory. The prophet Isaiah proclaimed, “For to us a child is born, to us, a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6 NIV)
Recent polls conducted in the USA (2022) indicate that 55% of Americans believe Jesus is the creation of God. That he had a beginning – and that “beginning” was in Bethlehem. Even more unsettling are the findings that 70% of regular and semi-regular churchgoers believe Jesus was created by God.
In the early church there were many who believed the same until, finally, the orthodox position of the Trinity (AD 325) rooted out any thoughts that Jesus was a created being. They strongly affirmed that God existed as a Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – one in essence but three in terms of personality and function.
Why is all this important – particularly at this Christmas season of the year?
Because at Christmas we are not celebrating the birthday of a child – or the emergence of a new person. We are celebrating Emmanuel – God now with us – coming to dwell among us and make Himself known to us in the person of Jesus. (Matthew 1:22-23)
Dr. John Stott in his book on Christian Basics states: “If God is infinite, he is beyond us, we cannot know him unless he chooses to make himself known. If he were to make himself known, he would surely do so in the highest terms intelligible to us, namely through human personality. It is exactly this that Christians believe he has done.”
Christmas at its heart is an “advent” celebration. An “arrival!” The arrival of God. God among us in the person of Jesus to identify with us; empathize with us; make Himself known to us – and ultimately take upon himself the full penalty for our sin – dying for us so that we might be reunited with God and live with Him forever. (John 1:12; 5:24)
Hebrews 1:1-3 tells us that, “Long ago in many ways and at many times God’s prophets spoke his message to our ancestors. But now, at last, God sent his Son to bring his message to us. God created the universe by his Son, and everything will someday belong to the Son. God’s Son has all the brightness of God’s own glory and is like him in every way.” (Hebrews 1:1-3 CEV)
Charles Wesley (1707-1788) captured this truth in his popular Christmas carol, Hark the Herald Angels Sing. “Christ, by highest heaven adored; Christ, the everlasting Lord: Late in time behold Him come, off-spring of a virgin’s womb. Veiled in flesh the God-head see, hail the incarnate Deity! Pleased as man with men to appear, Jesus our Immanuel here. Hark, the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King.”
Thanking God with you for CHRISTmas.
The Barnabas Group / Loads of Love