For the remaining days of Christmas, here is a brief pastoral letter that helps us understand:
- who Jesus is
- what Jesus did
- what Jesus does
- what Jesus will do
So much said in so few words so easy to understand!
God Made Accessible
Historically, the celebration of Christmas is a bit of a late comer. Christians have from the very earliest times kept days like Easter and Pentecost. But Christmas does not find its way into our calendar until the fourth century. The Church’s focus early on was the death and resurrection of Christ. But heresies like Arianism (which denied the divinity of Christ), Adoptionism (which taught that the man Jesus was elevated to divinity at some point), Docetism (which taught that Jesus didn’t really have a body), and others, led the Church to pay closer attention to the incarnation of our Lord. It’s not that earlier Christians didn’t know about the incarnation, but that challenges to the truth of the incarnation led them to a greater consideration of its importance.
Without the incarnation, without God having truly been born a real man, the work of Jesus would be worthless to us. Good Friday, Easter, and all of the rest of the Christian holidays would be meaningless. Only because God became man does man have access to God. It is only because Jesus became one of us that His death and resurrection save us.
But the incarnation is important for more than what Jesus did. There’s also what Jesus does. The humanity of Christ continues to give us access to the heavenly places and to God Himself. His bodily ascension opened up heaven. A Man now sits on the throne of God. A Man will judge the nations. A Man presents our prayers to the Father and acts as our mediator. A Man gives us His real and holy flesh and blood for the forgiveness of our sins. So while we always remember the cross of Christ, let us not forget the importance of His incarnation which makes cross and everything else possible. Thanks be to God for sending His Son into flesh for us.