I love the traditional Christmas narratives that are read over Christmas. The stories of Mary and Joseph along with the shepherds and wise men have drama and excitement that appeal to all ages.
The story is all about the INCARNATION. The word incarnation means, “to become flesh,” and that’s what we say happened two thousand years ago: God became FLESH. Everything about God suddenly became touchable and seeable and… knowable. The incarnation is as important as the death and resurrection of Christ because without the incarnation there would be no death and resurrection.
I also love the Christmas story that Paul shared with the Church in Philippi in Philippians 2:5-11…
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
That single passage covers all the bases in terms of the person and work of Jesus Christ. I love the part that talks about Jesus “who being in the form of God did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant and coming in the likeness of men.” THAT IS THE INCARNATION! Jesus not trying to take advantage of the fact that he was God, laid aside all His glory as God and became man. WOW!
There is a Huge Cathedral built in the 4th century outside Bethlehem that marks the traditional birthplace of Jesus. There is a very small four foot door at the entrance. The door is so small that you have to really stoop down to go in. It is said that the door was made that small so that invading armies couldn’t rush into the cathedral on horseback and slaughter the early Christians.
… but I like to think that the door is that small to force you to BOW before the one who humbled himself to take on human flesh. This Christmas let’s not forget to BOW our heads to the One to whom once day every knee shall bow and every tongue confess as LORD… JESUS.