An annual delight of the Christmas season is receiving family updates from friends. Their letters share key accomplishments of family members and offer a snap shot of their life together. It’s a wonderful glimpse into their life. I like these letters.
This is not such a letter.
Oh, I could regale you with stories of triumph at Fellowship. I could list the many goals met and the rapid progress of our campus expansion. I could describe our progress in discipleship and our growing impact in Haiti. There is no lack to the good things I could share. And of course, in every instance I would give all praise to God. These are his accomplishments not ours.
But this letter is about another accomplishment; one that long precedes the founding of Fellowship.
It began with an angelic announcement and was then consummated by the Holy Spirit. God, in Jesus, was conceived. Mary contributed her flesh but God had introduced the life in her womb. By this incarnation, Jesus entered into the world he had created. In Jesus we have the mysterious union of the human and divine natures. Fully God and simultaneously fully man, Jesus is forever, uniquely both.
“The fact that the infinite, omnipotent, eternal Son of God could become man and join himself to a human nature forever, so that infinite God became one person with finite man, will remain for eternity the most profound miracle and the most profound mystery in all the universe.” Wayne Grudem.
This union is more than a Christmas novelty. It is the necessary condition for our deliverance. Jesus had to be man to offer himself as our substitute. His divinity was necessary to make his offer sufficient. It grows more complex than this but the impact gloriously simply to understand. Peter Leithart explains, “You know the scene in the movie: The hero, finding that he can no longer resort to half-measures and fighting through intermediaries, decides he must take things into his own hands, and challenges the villain in hand-to-hand combat. That is incarnation.” By his incarnation, Jesus ventures into our woes and wins the day.
More than that—Jesus continues in his humanity. His body is changed, it is glorified now, but he retains his humanity. This offers us great peace because in Him we have an advocate at the throne of God who understands our experience. He has suffered as we have. He has bled red like us and endured the worst of death. Over all this sorrow he has triumphed and now He reigns in incarnate perfection. How beautifully this Victorian Christmas carol announces these truths:
“It is my sweetest comfort, Lord,
And will for ever be,
To muse upon the gracious truth
Of thy humanity.
Oh joy! there sitteth in our flesh,
Upon a throne of light,
One of a human mother born,
In perfect Godhead bright!
Though earth’s foundations should be moved,
Down to their lowest deep;
Though all the trembling universe
Into destruction sweep;
For ever God, for ever man,
My Jesus shall endure;
And fix’d on Him, my hope remains
This, my friends, is the wonder of the manger. The incarnation is the joy of Christmas. God took on our humanity and has no intention of putting it off. May this glorious truth give you reason to praise Him this Christmas.
On behalf of the elders, staff, and myself, a very merry Christmas to you.