5 Reasons Christmas Is Significant
Christmas is a time when as Christians, we celebrate the Creator of the world, who stooped down to take the form of a man. But what is the significance of this doctrine (the incarnation), and how is it relevant to us today?
It Opens Up Scripture
The incarnation helps us to see that the Old Testament sets the stage for God to once again live with man as He did in Eden. On every Old Testament page, God promises a human deliverer who is also stronger than Satan (Gen. 3:15); both a suffering servant and an anointed king.
The reality of “God with us” is explained and applied throughout the rest of Scripture starting with Matthew. The New Testament is the real-life story of what happened when God came to men that they might belong to Him. The New Testament is the answer to the Old Testament anticipation of a redeemer.
Near the story’s last chapter, John heard these words from heaven: “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people. God himself will be with them, and be their God” (Rev. 21:3).
It Makes God Accessible
In the Old Testament, God was accessible only through the mediation of prophets, priests, tabernacle, and temple. No Israelite could properly see God (John 1:18). John Calvin said the revelation of God prior to Christ was like a pencil sketch.
In Christ, God became accessible to us in a most familiar form. If you want to know what God is like, study Christ. As Richard Phillips has written, Jesus’ earthly posture, tone of voice, attitude, and reaction to events were those of God. “God is Christ-like.”
It Reveals Our Only Mediator
At Mount Sinai, Israel needed mediation; they were justly terrified by God’s thunderings. God gave Moses as a temporary mediator (Deut. 5:27) who admonished the people to look for a better one! (Deut 18:15). Of the man Jesus, Paul later wrote, “There is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men…” (1 Tim. 2:5). In His humanity, Christ suffered our judgment for sin. In His divinity, He endured that judgment to the very end.
It Reveals God’s Humility and Glory
Christ prostrated Himself to the earth because we needed rescue–that’s humbling. God lowered Himself to gather to Himself His rebellious children. Christ willingly compromised His reputation by becoming a man (Phil. 2:7). Paradoxically, in Christ’s humility, God also reveals His other-worldly glory. ‘The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified’ (John 12:23).” Calvin boldly states that the richness of God’s glory “is invisible until it shines forth in Christ…the majesty of the Father is hidden until it shews itself impressed on Christ’s image.”
It Compels Us to Godly Living
“For the love of Christ compels us…those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for him who died for them and rose again” (2 Cor. 5:14-15). True godliness is lived out in a mutually loving experience with God. With biblical warrant, we usually think of the cross as the greatest manifestation of God’s love. But if on the cross, Christ’s descent reached the pit of hell, the incarnation was His first step in that agonizing descent. We need to know Christ as He truly is, God and man in one beautiful, glorious person. Knowing Christ ensures being changed by Him.