It's a God!

A group of fourth graders got together and decided to write their own version of the Christmas story. It ended up being a bit more “modern” than the traditional Christmas drama. The cast included most of the familiar members. There was a Joseph, shepherds, three wise men, an angel, and the star propped up in the background. There seemed to be one important character missing, however. Mary was nowhere to be seen. Suddenly, from behind some bales of hay, came the sound of soft moans and groans. Evidently Mary was in labor. Soon a doctor arrived dressed in a white coat with a stethoscope around his neck. Joseph, with a look of relief on his face takes the doctor straight to Mary. He then starts pacing back and forth. After a few moments, the "doctor" emerges with a big smile on his face. "Congratulations, Joseph," he says, "It's a God!"

Friends, it is unlikely that this version of the nativity will replace the traditional Christmas pageant, but the young students understood a very important part of the story.  The baby born to Mary that night in Bethlehem was not an ordinary child.

He was “the only begotten of the Father, the eternal Son,” indeed, “very God of very God.” Yes, that night in Bethlehem, He also became human. If the “doctor” would have told Joseph, “It’s a boy!” he would have also been correct. The baby born that first Christmas was both truly God and truly human. This reality is expressed in the term “incarnation” which means “in flesh.” The Apostle John sums up what occurred this way: “The Word (God the Son) became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14) That is what happened when Jesus was born to Mary.

Yet, understanding why this happened is probably even more important than knowing what happened. The question, “Why did God become man?” is really at the heart of the Christmas story. Though we will never be able to understand the total reason for the incarnation, the Bible does reveal an important part of the answer. God became man so He could die. Jesus put it this way, “The Son of Man (Christ) did not come to serve or be served, but to give His life as a ransom for many.” By giving His life on the cross, Jesus brought forgiveness and salvation to all who trust in Him. This is something only He could do as God incarnate. A person who was only God could not die. Someone who was only a man could never provide a sacrifice that would atone for our sins. Only because He was fully God and fully human was Jesus able to bring salvation to us through His death on the cross. This is a big reason for the “why” of the incarnation and a big part of what Christmas is all about. We can celebrate the fact that the baby born to Mary was both “a God” and “a boy.”
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Dan Erickson

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