Matthew 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. (KJV)
As we are now fully in the Advent season and as I take time to read this verse I can’t help but think, why?! Why would God do that to Himself, why would He step out of heaven and wrap Himself in human flesh. Martin Luther asked a similar question a few hundred years ago, “Why would the Lord of all the universe care enough about us mortals to take our flesh and share our woes”.
I remember in school that teachers used to say that there are no bad questions, I believe this to be true, However, some question carry more weight than others. This is a question that carries an eternity of weight. By asking ourselves, this question during the Advent season, why God would care enough about us mortals to take our flesh and share our woes, two important purposes are being served.
First, the connection between the manger and cross are brought into closer companionship. Luther would often say that the manger and the cross are made of the same wood. That is to say that they are both made by wood stained with the blood of the sin and disobedience of God’s creatures. They are also stained with the sweat and tears of our personal God who cares about his entire creation. His care is shown in his action to send his Son, Jesus and close the gap of distance and separation between him and creatures that have forgotten to hear, listen, and obey the good and holy Word of their heavenly Father.
The second purpose that is served by asking the question, “Why would the Lord of all the universe care enough about us mortals to take our flesh and share our woes?” is that it leads us to consider all the ways in which our God comes to us. Since the season of Advent occurs during the weeks prior to Christmas Day, it can be easy for us to focus our eyes only on the baby Jesus cradled in the manger. But if we pull back the curtains a little farther we can bring into view all the ways that God comes to us.
Our God splits the heavens and comes down not just during the event that we celebrate one month from now on Christmas morning. The purpose of the season of Advent is not so that the church can transport itself back two thousand years ago and pretend to be first century Jews who are waiting for their Messiah to be born. We live in the twenty-first century. So let us believe more firmly the truth that God has already come to us, is continuing to come to us, and will come back to us.
He comes to us, every Sunday morning as we gather together in the fellowship of Christ. Every time The Word of God is open and read, when the Communion is given and received, when a heart is comforted, when we reach out in service to our brothers and sisters, when a child is taught, when a person comes to a fuller understanding of who He is. All of these and many more ways, God comes to us. He truly is Emmanuel, God with us.
Park View Christian Church, The truth that God cares enough for us mortals to take on our flesh and share our woes is shown to us in the wonderful Christmas story which we eagerly wait to celebrate. But understand and be comforted by the fact, He is with us now and always, this is the true meaning of the Christmas story. Let us then with this knowledge, equip ourselves to share this wonderful message of Hope, Peace, Love, and joy through Christ Jesus.
God Bless you this Christmas season
Pastor Tim Campbell