We have just finished celebrating Christmas day, yet the season of Christmas will not end until epiphany Sunday, January 6th. What, exactly, is the theological backbone of Christmas? The birth of the messiah who will occupy David’s throne forever? Yes. The coming of the true King of the earth and Lord of Glory? Absolutely. But there’s a simpler answer that permeates all the above answers: God has become human for our salvation from our sinfulness and our shame. In Jesus Christ, we see a God who comes to rescue us.
In the New Testament book of Hebrews, chapter one, we read these words: Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son… He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being. The writer reflects on the mystery of what Christians call the Incarnation. That is, God coming to us in the human flesh of Jesus Christ, without ceasing to be God.
The writer of Hebrews claims that Jesus is the “reflection of God’s glory” and
“the exact imprint of God’s very being.” The late Lutheran theologian Robert Jenson, reflecting on the Incarnational theology as seen in Hebrews, claims: "God does not, if Jesus is the Logos (Greek for “Word”), first know himself as an essence. God is not first of all an impersonal, abstract, unknowable "something," but is with, for, and among us as a particular and specific "Someone" whom we can know Life to life, Face to face, Heart to heart.” In other words, Jesus reveals to us that God is person, a person who, nonetheless comes to us in his son to rescue us, claim us, and finally, to redeem us. Jesus is not just the witness to God, he is God. Jesus does not just point to God’s righteousness and grace. No, he is God’s righteousness and grace in human flesh. If you want to know what God is like, just look at Jesus. That’s the Christmas hope we have received.
Rev. Will Wilson is pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Kilgore. Contact him at email@example.com)