Posted by: St. Mark Lutheran Church | December 24, 2011

Some difficult doctrines: the Incarnation, round two

“My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.”  For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God (John 5:17-18).

Over the last few months we’ve pondered some difficult doctrines of the Christian faith:  the inspiration at Scripture, Law and Gospel, the Triune God, the two natures of Christ, faith and works, original sin, the sacraments, close communion.

And I know that in April we talked about the two natures of Christ, but that one is so big, so hard, and so offensive that we must return to it in December.  Christmas ranks among the most popular and most hallowed of holidays for almost everybody in the world, but at the center of it is something we don’t always want to hear.

God became man because man tried to become God and failed.  The Word became flesh.  God’s own Son, God Himself came and worked and walked among us.  Because we live under the law and can’t abide that law, can’t keep that law, and, in our heart of hearts, apart from faith, hate that law.  So God slapped us in the face with that fact.  He came and lived under the law and abided it, kept in, and loved it.  He showed us what living for Him really means.  He did it.  And the Jews wanted to kill Him for saying it and being it.

No wonder the devil does whatever he can to make sure we make Christmas about anything else except God coming into the flesh to pull our sad, sinful butts out of the fire.  He even gets Christian churches to cancel church services on Christmas Day, “Because it’s a family holiday.”  No – it’s God’s Day!  The day when we remember that God stepped into our world in a most incredible way:  He wrapped Himself in our flesh.  He became like us in every way.  That’s what we get together with our family to celebrate.  That’s the gift that prompts us to give gifts to others.

He came to do His work.  And that’s what Christmas is.  This is how God showed his love among us:  He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.  This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:9-10). 

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