60 seconds with the general director Dec/Jan 1974/1975
What will this Christmas mean to you? Honestly now, what will it really mean? Are you infected with the commercial distortion of bright lights, mistletoe, the exchange of gifts and Jolly Old Saint Nick? Is it simply a time for family reunion and making merry?
“Not so,” you say. You’re more discerning than that. Perhaps for you Christmas means wise men from the East, angelic messengers, shepherds in the field by night, and ‘little Jesus meek and mild’. If that is your view of Christmas, I submit that it too, falls short of the divine intention.
INCARNATION—that’s the real Christmas word. It means simply, “God in flesh.” You can hear the word incarnation in our word chili con “carne” which means beans with meat (flesh), or “carnival” which means that which appeals to the flesh.
If we truly understand Christmas—that God became flesh, it will direct us to worship in awe and wonderment. Think of it! God—the Creator of the universe, the self-existent, all-powerful, eternal One was born in the town of Bethlehem. He appeared in time and space. Men could see Him, touch Him, and hear Him. God had visited the planet earth in the person of His Son.
But why—why we ask was the Sovereign of the universe found clothed in human flesh? Here lies the supreme question, for left unanswered there is no rationale for existence. The answer is not complex. The Son of God was born to die that man might live. Concerning His impending death, Jesus said, “. . . for this cause came I unto this hour” (John 12:27).
The Apostle Paul put it this way,
became a man
became a servant
died a criminal’s death
His miraculous birth and substitutionary death are eternally linked together. “Little Jesus meek and mild” divorced from the Christ of Calvary can never be the Christmas story.
But what prompted such sacrifice? Why did the eternal God become a man, become a servant, and die a criminal’s death? The answer is mind-boggling. He esteemed others better than Himself.
Friend, do you grasp that truth—that inexplicable, incomprehensible truth. The sovereign God of the universe was born to die because He thought more highly of you and me than He did of Himself. ANYTHING that detracts, negates, or misdirects our worship from this central reason for His incarnation is a distortion of the Christmas message.
And what greater resolution for the New Year than the one which the Apostle Paul suggests, “Let this mind (mental attitude) be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” Philippians 2:5. He esteemed others better than Himself. Through the indwelling Spirit may this attitude characterize each of us throughout the New Year.
Excitingly yours in Him,
Marvin J. Rosenthal