One of the most profound truths of the Christian faith is easily overlooked at this time of year.  We are in the season of Christmas, of course.  (More technically, we are in the season of Advent; in the church year, the season of Christmas doesn’t begin until Christmas Day.  But guess how long Christmas lasts?  From December 25 until Epiphany, January 6, which is a total of – you guessed it – twelve days!)  During this season, our thoughts turn toward the birth of a baby in Bethlehem, a small town outside Jerusalem, over two thousand years ago.  We remember that birth because of what that child would do later in his life.  He grew up to transform lives through his teachings, miracles, compassion, death, and resurrection.  Jesus Christ changed the world as an adult, so we joyfully remember his birth.  Otherwise, there would have been no reason for the gospel writers to make note of a child born to an unwed mother in a town far from her home.  Right? Wrong!  The birth of Jesus is no minor event.  For something profound took place at this birth, something that had never taken place before, something that has never taken place since.  When this child was born, nine months of gestation resulted in one amazing truth: God had taken on human flesh.  God had come to live among us. We call this doctrine “the incarnation”:  namely, that the baby born in Bethlehem was no mere baby, but is God-made-flesh, God-with-us (Immanuel, see Isaiah 7-8), God-in-our-midst.  I cannot overstate the importance of this reality!  For centuries, God had lived among his people (the Israelites of old) in the fire and smoke of Exodus, in the Most Holy Place within the temple, in the Ark of the Covenant.  But these were inanimate reminders of God’s presence, not a living, breathing, God-with-us personality. When Jesus was born, as Jesus learned to speak Aramaic, as he learned how to walk and to be potty-trained and to respect his parents – something unique was taking place in the world.  This was God himself taking on human flesh to live among us.  No longer do we need to look to the skies, to the temple, to the impersonal fire and smoke of Exodus in order to know God’s presence.  Now, with the incarnation of Jesus Christ, we have God dwelling in our midst – and dwelling fully in our midst, at that.  No greater revelation of God’s presence and character will ever take place; Jesus is the perfect and complete embodiment of God. For many centuries, Christians have believed in this doctrine of Jesus Christ:  that he is fully God and fully human, true God and true man, both at the same time. Two important biblical passages inform this doctrine.  Take a few minutes today to read John 1:1-14 and Philippians 2:1-11.  In fact, pause whatever you’re doing and read those passages right now.  And take a few minutes to give God praise and thanks for how he came near to us in the person of Jesus Christ. Christmas is not just a season for heart-warming traditions; it is a season for profound, world-altering truths. Pastor David

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