If there is a word which aptly summarizes the meaning of Christmas, it is the word incarnation. While the word incarnation is not found in the Bible, its theme is central to the message of our Lord Jesus Christ’s coming into the world. Webster’s dictionary defines incarnation as embodiment, the incorporation of substance, flesh and blood. When we speak of Jesus Christ’s incarnation, we mean that specific act of God wherein God the Son took on humanity, taking on a body, mind, and soul, as He was conceived of the virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit. There are a number of key Biblical passages which refer to God becoming flesh and taking on humanity.
“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
“By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness:
He who was revealed in the flesh,
Was vindicated in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Proclaimed among the nations,
Believed on in the world,
Taken up in glory.” (I Timothy 3:16)
“By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God;” (1 John 4:2)
“For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,” (Romans 8:3)
“…yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach—” (Colossians 1:23)
These passages all speak to this common theme of Christ living and dying in the flesh and being raised bodily from the dead. In Adam, we all fell into sin, and Adam’s sin impacted all of humanity. We all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. With the coming of Christ into the world, we are redeemed from this sin! Christ’s salvation impacts humanity because He became one of us, lived among us with all the hardships and temptations that we face, died, and rose again for us in the flesh, all while He shared our humanity. It is the marvel of God’s grace that God the Son, while remaining fully God, took on full humanity to bring about our salvation.
It should be our goal that all we do in our life in Christ would be done with an eye to our communion with Him. Our Lord tells us in Matthew 25 that whatever good things we have done to others, we also have done to the Lord (Matthew 25:40).
The true Christian life is the life that is lived increasingly in union with the God/man, Jesus Christ. His incarnation makes possible our being united to God in communion with Him. May we celebrate this precious truth of Christ’s love in His coming into the world and be moved with the joy of this good news which is for all the world. (Luke 2:10,11)