One of the reasons I love the Christmas season is the depths to which we get to go as we investigate what happened 2,000 years ago. The Christmas story known by most is easily captured by the "nativity scene," some internally-lit plastic figures in a front yard. But the biblical story offers something much deeper - the truth that God stepped into the mess of humanity to redeem lost and broken things. And in the same way that He stepped into humanity 2,000 years ago, He is still willing to put skin on and step into our messy lives today.
Andy Stanley talks about putting his kids to bed once and his little girl was scared. Andy reminded her that God was always with her to protect her. She acknowledged the truth, but replied to her Dad that she really wanted "someone with skin on" to be in the room with her. Human beings are worshippers - all of us. Some worship self, others worship objects, and still others worship the invisible forces of nature. But in Christianity, we worship a God with skin on. The world is in a bit of a mess, and so is each one of us. We're separated from our Creator, broken by sin, and the effects of that sin are seen all around us. But we worship a God who, out of His concern for His glory and His creation and His great love for us, came down, put skin on, and invaded our mess! And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 NKJV This verse refers to "the Word" (previously mentioned as the One who was with God and who was God from all eternity) who "became flesh and dwelt among us." That phrase literally means he tabernacled among us. He put on a tent of human flesh and became visible. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has existed for all of eternity, but two thousand years ago, He took on the role of God, coming to earth, putting flesh on as He was conceived in the womb of a virgin. ...Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 1:20b NKJV God became personally involved in our situation in Jesus. This doctrine of the incarnation is a mystery. We don't understand it in our frail, human minds. Somehow, God became a man, and in so doing, He remained 100% God and became 100% man at the same time. Human and divine met together in Jesus Christ. And without this mixing of human and divine, that we call the incarnation, we would be hopelessly lost.
He experienced life in all its fullness. He grew up in a Jewish home in Nazareth, the adopted son of a poor carpentar named Joseph. He experienced the bumps and bruises of boyhood and navigated the choppy waters of becoming a man. He had friends, he traveled, and he became a leader - a well-respected Rabbi in spite of his poor upbringing.
He experienced temptation, so flee to Him when temptation comes.
He experienced relational pain, so cling to Him when everyone else forsakes you.
He experienced physical suffering, so trust Him through your trials.
He experienced actual death, so face eternity with spiritual confidence.
He experienced resurrection, so live with daily hope and expectancy.
You can know and experience Him. He came to get real, to get personal, to get close and intimate with His people. Religion seeks to build a bridge to God, but Jesus came to BE the bridge to the Father. Why not come to know Him in a personal way today? We're celebrating communion, which is a way for us to remember that the body in which He lived was broken for us and the blood He shed when He died on the cross was the payment for our sin penalty. We are celebrating the incarnation