Greetings in the Wonderful Name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! And Mele Kalikimaka (Merry Christmas)!
Incarnation. I’ve been thinking about that word a lot recently. It’s one we tend to unpack along with last year’s Christmas decorations and then put back in the box with them at the end of the month. Yet it is a rich word, worthy of consideration all year long. It means “in the flesh”. Jesus was the incarnation of the Father. He is God come in the flesh. Why was that important? The following story gives us a little glimpse of it.
The sound of a young child’s voice cuts through the stillness of the night. It comes from the bedroom down the hall. “Daddy, I’m scared!” Out of your groggy sleep-interrupted state, you respond with, “Honey, don’t be afraid! Daddy’s right down the hall.” After a brief pause, the little voice is heard again. “I’m still scared.”
More awake now, you respond, “You don’t need to be afraid. God is with you. God loves you.” This time the pause is longer...but the voice returns, “I want someone else, Daddy. I need someone with skin on.”
It seems like the logic used by the little child is precisely the reason for the Incarnation. After thousands of years of trying to convince His people that He really loved them, our Creator knew the best way to demonstrate His love for us was to send “someone with skin on”.
Hebrews 1:1-2 is not a typical Christmas text, yet it declares the nativity story or, at least, the reason behind it. “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various was, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His son whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe.” The Old Testament prophets were powerful speakers, faithfully proclaiming the word of the Lord. But they were merely messengers who could only tell part of the story. Jesus the Son not only speaks the complete story, He is the story. As He told Philip, one of His disciples, “Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).
John the Gospel writer emphasizes that Jesus is the Word, the exact communication from the Father (John 1:1). What the Father would desire to speak to us has already been communicated by Christ. What the Father would desire to show us has already been demonstrated by Christ. Any question you could ever have about the Father has been answered by the Son. Paul tells us that “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.... For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross” (Colossians 1:15, 19-20).
How opposite this is to every other religion. Each of those “gods” demands that you become like them. You must do certain (and many) things in order to attain perfection. By contrast, Jesus Christ humbled Himself to become a man. He became like us so that we might become like Him. And it was not a last minute decision, born out of frustration with previous failure. Jesus is the ‘‘Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:18). This was God’s plan from before the Beginning. All that preceded was preparation. “When the time had fully come, God sent forth His son....” (Galatians 4:4). Hallelujah! What a wonderful Savior!
This Sunday, December 26, we will conclude our Christmas series, “The Songs of Christmas”, with Simeon’s grand song of Salvation, the “Nunc Dimittis” (Luke 2:21-35). Please join us at 10:35am in the building or online for the Live broadcast on either Facebook (Honolulu AG) or our YouTube channel (Honolulu Assembly of God).
Coming Up: January 2nd is Un-Deck the Halls Sunday. We will put away all the Christmas decorations and then enjoy a delicious prepared lunch together. (Lunch will be provided; you do not need to bring anything that day.) The “Joy of Belonging” classes will happen January 9-30. If you are interested in becoming a member here at Honolulu AG, please let me know. Our annual Week of Prayer (and fasting) will take place January 9-15.
Aloha and Aloha ke Akua!