Christmas is the time of the church year when we focus on the Incarnation. Incarnation means to put on flesh. God the Son, at a certain time in history, left the Father’s side and became man. He did this, however, without losing his full divinity.
We see Jesus’ divinity in the gospels. He heals. He forgives sins, which only God can do. He teaches with authority, rather than citing Old Testament scriptures. He claimed to be the Lord of the Sabbath. He rose from the dead. These are divine acts.
However, Jesus was also fully human. He had a human mother. He ate. He wept when his friend Lazarus died. He suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the Cross. He died. These are human experiences.
At Christmas we celebrate, not only the birth of Jesus, but the coming of God in the flesh. God is truly with us. He has a human face in Jesus. God understands our human plight, our fragility, our temptations - because he shared those things in Jesus. God also reached down and redeemed our humanity by the offering of Jesus. And he did this by sharing our nature - not distantly, or abstractly - but actually.
I find great comfort in the doctrine of the Incarnation. Jesus is human enough to understand me, but also powerful enough to save me. Being a Christian means being fully human, but also striving to be like God - to be holy. God is near to us in Jesus, without ceasing to be God. What a wonderful Savior to follow.
What does it mean for you that God took on flesh in Jesus? At Christmas, let’s remember both aspects of our Savior - his full humanity, and his full divinity - and draw both comfort and strength from him.
See you in church!