We are each one on a road going toward home, but we’re not trying to get there for Christmas. We’re trying to get there for eternity. We want to arrive home safely to our loving Father in Heaven. He wants us to make it safely there, so He has sent a guiding light for us to follow: a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, the perfect example.” – Margaret D. Nadauld

Ask a room full of people what comes to mind when they think of “Christmas” and the usual responses include words like Santa Claus, reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, shopping, parties, and the like. But none of those words are to be found in the original Christmas story.  If we look to the bible narrative we’ll find words like “joy, peace and Savior.”  These are words that describe the wonder of Christ’s birth.

There is also the manger scene in Bethlehem with Joseph and Mary, and of course, the Shepherds who were keeping watch over their flocks by night.  And, let‘s not forget the Wise Men who traveled from afar, led by that very special star. Three of the four Biblical narratives contain this customary account.  But not the Gospel of John.   His New Testament writing is unique as it refers to the birth of Jesus as “The Word” becoming a human being and living among mankind.

Here then is the story of the arrival of Jesus according to John:

1 In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
2 He existed in the beginning with God.
3 God created everything through him,
and nothing was created except through him.
4 The Word gave life to everything that was created,
and his life brought light to everyone.
5 That light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can never extinguish it.

 6 God sent a man, John the Baptist, 7 to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. 8 John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. 9 The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

 10 He came into the very world he had created, but the world didn‘t recognize him. 11 He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. 12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. 13 They are the reborn not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.

 14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father‘s one and only Son. (John 1:1-14)

The birth of this unique man called Jesus (his name means savior) is presented by all four of the Gospel writers as part of a great supernatural plan.  We are told that the Architect of the universe took on human form to visit the world that He created.   But why did He do this?   Let me suggest four reasons:

God wants to relate to us.

It is difficult to relate to someone if you have nothing in common with them.   The Newer Testament writer Paul said,

20  “When I am with the Jews I seem as one of them so that they will listen to the Gospel and I can win them to Jesus. When I am with Gentiles who follow Jewish customs and ceremonies I don‘t argue, even though I don‘t agree, because I want to help them. 21  When with the heathen I agree with them as much as I can, except of course that I must always do what is right as a Christian. And so, by agreeing, I can win their confidence[a] and help them too.   22  When I am with those whose consciences bother them easily, I don‘t act as though I know it all and don‘t say they are foolish; the result is that they are willing to let me help them. Yes, whatever a person is like, I try to find common ground with him so that he will let me tell him about Jesus and let Christ save him. 23  I do this to get the Gospel to them and also for the blessing I myself receive when I see them come to know Jesus.”  (1 Corinthians 9:20-23)

Paul learned this concept of ministry from his encounters with the Spirit of the risen Lord.   He understood that you can‘t communicate with someone unless you relate to them. To relate to His creation in a most intimate way, the Word became flesh – God became a man.   Just as light is focused into a sharp image through the lens of a camera, Jesus was the Almighty God in focus.   His life says to all who will pay attention, “This is what God is like and this is what he wants from you”.

Jesus lived his life on earth in much the same way as we live our lives.   He was exposed to the same temptations.   He is familiar with our fears.   He felt life‘s pressures.   He relates to us and we can relate to him.   Because of this relationship, we can approach our Creator as one who knows what it is like to be human.

This is Christmas: not the tinsel, not the giving and receiving, not even the carols, but the humble heart that receives anew the wondrous gift –   Jesus the Christ.” – Frank McKibben

God wants to enlighten us.

We live in the so-called  “age of enlightenment.”   It‘s an era of acute awareness as we all travel on the information superhighway, tangled in the World Wide Web.   Knowledge travels at light speed, and yet, confusion is everywhere.   People are wondering what to do, how to act, and where to turn for honest answers.   Of course, cheap advice is dispensed on every cyber-corner.   Much of it is no more than the blind leading the blind.   Seekers everywhere cry out for direction as they search for truth and illumination.   Many wonder, “Whom do we really trust?”   In the midst of it all, the message Jesus first proclaimed when he came aboard space ship earth remains the same: “I am the way, the truth and the light of life… Learn of me… You can trust me.”

God wants to adopt us.

Jesus knew that his visit to earth in human form would be brief.   So he made two important promises; I will not leave you orphans on your own and one day you will be with me.   Followers of the Liberator Jesus are not strays; we are children of the “great light”.   Look at what several verses found in the Bible‘s Newer Testament have to say about our position:

 15 “So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God‘s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children.  Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:15)

5 “God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.” (Galatians 4:5)

5 “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.”   (Ephesians 1:5)

It is obvious; God wants to welcome all whom he has called into his family!   Remember what John wrote “… to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)

And when we give each other Christmas gifts in His name, let us remember that He has given us the sun and the moon and the stars, and the earth with its forests and mountains and oceans–and all that lives and move upon them. He has given us all green things and everything that blossoms and bears fruit and all that we quarrel about and all that we have misused–and to save us from our foolishness, from all our sins, He came down to earth and gave us Himself.” – Sigrid Undset

God wants to redeem us.

There is another reason why the Eternal Word became a man.  In fact, it is the most important reason of all.   For without this one reason, the others would have no significance.  Our creator was born embodied in a baby called Jesus so that he could grow up among us, reveal himself to us, die in our place to liberate us from our sin, and show us the way back home.

That special baby was also called Emanuel (God with us). He grew up living an ordinary life until the day when he commenced the mission for which he had come into the world.   Jesus then traveled extensively proclaiming the truth about who he was and why he came to the earth to all who had ears to hear.  It was (and still is) a radical message in which he promised eternal life to everyone who would put their trust in him.  His actions and words upset the religious establishment of his day, and as a result he was executed at the urging of the Jewish leaders by the Romans who occupied Israel.

But that was always part of the divine plan. The Bible teaches us that his death was substitutionary.  Jesus took away our sin by taking it upon himself and dying in our place. When he cried out in his final moments of life in mortal form, “it is finished,” the debt owed for the original transgression of mankind was settled once and for all. His subsequent bodily resurrection opened a doorway into a renewed life for believers here and now and, after death, an eternity with him.

Remember that, when you see a manger scene this Christmas, when you think of that star shining brightly in the ancient Bethlehem sky, when you read of the angelic beings announcing his birth to the shepherds, and especially when you see a reference to the Magi.   They are called wise men that came in search of the truth.   Indeed, they were very wise.   How about you?   Wise men and wise women still seek Him today.   Do you?

Merry Christmas!

Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD., is a noted author, broadcaster, a popular Bible teacher and a rabid Coastal Junkie ®  
For additional information write to: Coastal Life Ministries, P.O. Box 1283, New Port Richey, Florida 34656

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