At Christmas time, we celebrate the birth of Christ. This event is known theologically as the incarnation. The incarnation represents the coming of the savior into the world. More specifically, it is the act of God becoming human.
We often talk about Christ being the God-man. We talk about him being fully God or divine, and fully human, but we rarely reflect on what this event says about the character of God.
In the incarnation, we find God putting on human flesh and blood, becoming the creature he designed to bear his image.
In the incarnation, we find God uniting a human soul with his divine essence.
In the incarnation, we see the God who created the universe experiencing the process of human birth.
When Jesus took humanity upon himself, he experienced growth in wisdom and stature. He experienced hunger and thirst. He experienced toil, he became tired, and he slept.
In taking humanity upon himself, Jesus experienced the loss of others through death…and he wept.
In the incarnation, the God who gave the Law to Moses, experienced temptation by the devil.
In the incarnation, Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity and eternal God, came into our reality, lived the life of a human being, experienced all of our emotions, our hardships, and our limitations–all the while he continued to hold the universe in place.
When we celebrate Christmas we are not just celebrating the birth of the one who would rescue humanity from sin and death. We are celebrating the event in which God unified himself with humanity for eternity. We are celebrating the process of God coming to his creation and experiencing all that he saves us from and saves us for.
As you prepare for Christmas over the next few weeks, do not think of Christ as coming only to offer salvation as a gift to humanity. Think of God becoming what he saves so as to be a part of all he redeems. Think of Jesus as the Lord who created us and added all that he created us to be to his divine essence.
Dr. Scott Shiffer has a Ph.D. in Christian Theology from the B.H. Carroll Theological Institute and has been teaching religion classes since 2006. He leads Transformation Media Ministries, an organization to help believers think biblically about culture in America. Scott has given numerous presentations including one at Oxford. He has spoken at church retreats, youth retreats, conferences, and has taught discipleship classes for over 10 years. Scott is married and has three children. He has a heart for helping believers draw closer to God and for aiding them as they are faced with new challenges in America every day.