This past Sunday, I preached a message entitled, “Celebrate The Incarnation”. The word incarnate simply means to clothe with flesh. It signifies when the second person of the God Head, Jesus The Son, put on flesh and dwelt among us (Mt 1:23, Jn 1:14). This is what the Christian celebrates at Christmas. Jesus being born a man to redeem us from our sins and reconcile us to The Father is truly the whole reason for the season. No incarnation - no reason for Christmas.
Some Christians don’t believe we should celebrate Christmas because the word is not found in The Bible, and because of the pagan and secular influences associated with it. However, I believe the question should not be whether or not we celebrate Christmas, but rather, what Christmas should we celebrate. The fairytale or the fact? The secular or the sacred? The truth of the incarnation, or the fable of flying wildlife?
True, the word “Christmas” is not in the Bible; but neither is the word Millennium, Rapture, or Trinity. However, we do find “Thousand year reign“, “Catching away” , and “The Godhead” - synonymous with the previous words. We also find four chapters of the New Testament, two rather lengthy, dedicated to the story of the birth of Christ (Mt 1&2, Lk 1&2).
Most of us who study the Bible will agree that Jesus was not born on December 25th. However, the date of His birth is irrelevant (the first Thanksgiving was not celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, either). The fact that He came to this earth is absolutely relevant. Besides, why do we surrender any days whatsoever to pagans? Is not our God the God of eternity, and everyday on the calendar is His? He is the One Who was, and is, and is to come.
Celebrating the Incarnation is what you make it, and not one someone else makes it. The Christian is not commanded to celebrate it, nor is he forbidden. The Christian should do what he does as unto the Lord, in faith, and with a clear conscience. If you can’t celebrate it with a clear conscience, then don’t. If you can celebrate it with a pure heart, in Spirit and in truth, then do it. We are not to judge each other in such matters. A thorough reading of Romans 14 will clear this up for us.
Take it for what you will, but in studying The Bible I have personally found that I am in good Biblical company when I celebrate the Incarnation. Much Bible prophecy is concerned with, and fulfilled in, the first coming of Jesus Christ - and in the four chapters dealing with the birth of Christ, I have found no less than nine instances of celebration associated with His incarnation. Let’s take a brief look at them.
In a great pro life message, we see the unborn John the Baptist leap for joy in his mother’s womb, when Mary entered Elisabeth’s house carrying the unborn Christ in her womb. Elisabeth also rejoiced, and called Mary the mother of her Lord (Lk 1:39-45). Notice it is present tense. Mary, who was probably less than a month pregnant, was – at that moment - the mother of The Lord. We see unborn children have souls and personalities, capable of demonstrating emotions. What a wonderful truth!
Mary celebrated the Incarnation (Lk 1:46-55), as well as Zacharias (Lk 1:67-75). The Angels of Heaven celebrated His coming (Lk 2:8-14), as well as the shepherds (Lk 2:15-20) and the wise men (Mt 2:10-11). We also see Simeon (Lk 2:25-32) and Anna (Lk 2:36-38) celebrate the Incarnation of Christ Jesus. This is the Bible - not man’s tradition. If Christ’s birth was worthy of celebration then, it is worthy of celebration now. I believe the Christian should celebrate all of Jesus’ life, and all He came to accomplish; but before the death, burial, and resurrection, there was the Incarnation. This is where it all began.
I do not wish to argue dates, customs, etc. I have heard and studied them all already. I also do not wish to move you off your firmly held convictions. Before your own Master will you stand or fall. All I wish to communicate is that there are Biblical grounds for celebrating the Incarnation of Christ Jesus. The coming of Emmanuel is a wonderful, glorious, and Scriptural reality; and I will celebrate it as unto Him in joy, in spirit, and in truth! May all men worship and honor The Son given, called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace! (Isa 9:6) Until next time, rejoice in the Lord!