Here’s a More Dynamic Reason
to Celebrate Christmas
Editor’s Note: People urge “Keep Christ in Christmas.” But it is much more important to “Keep Christmas in Christ.” In this blog post, David Bryant does just that. He briefly looks at the Incarnation as something so earth-shaking that we need to call it nothing less than an invasion. Then he provides you with four short, creative videos produced by the team at ChristNow.com to help bring greater insight into your celebration of the “invasion”—the most dynamic reason for Christmas!
I’m sure you’ve noticed: The Christmas season is bursting out all over the land!
A cacophony of carols competes with the clamor, clutter, and confusion confronting confounded consumers in every quarter.
Sadly, the holiday—dreaming of white Christmases with all days merry and bright—is about as far from the truth of what happened two thousand years ago as the word “inversion” is from the word “invasion.”
Invasion? Yes. For example, take a look at what is one of the most popular Christmas hymns, “O Come, All Ye Faithful.” When you think about it, the carol contains some rather dramatic claims in its seven-plus verses, such as:
Behold Him, born the King of angels
God from God . . . he abhors not the virgin’s womb
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing
Poor and in the manger, we would embrace Thee
O Come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord
Note how the theme of “invasion” is implied throughout.
Christ’s incarnation was an unprecedented act of invasion!
Popular theologian and author Michael Horton, in an article titled “The Good God Who Came Down,” sees Jesus’ advent as a rebuke to mankind’s preference to try to climb up to God all on our own. “Our hearts are idol factories,” he writes, “in bondage to sin and spin. We look for a god we can manage rather than the God who is actually there.”
However, Christ’s birth reverses this approach forever—it nullifies how every other religion seeks to gain a relationship with the Divine. Instead, Horton defines the distinctiveness of the Incarnation this way:
God has climbed down to us, meeting us not in the “high places” we
erect, but in the lowest places: in a barn, suffering our scorn,
fellowshipping with sinners . . . the humility of a feeding trough
and a cross.
We might say it this way: The incarnation was an invasion at the most profound level. In that sense, it was the inversion of how the world tries to get to Heaven.
For example, we might say Christmas is about the ultimate invasion of the Muslim world!
Curiously, this idea of an “incarnation invasion” speaks directly to a major contemporary concern for the global Church: the challenge the gospel faces reaching people in Muslim lands.
The debate that often arises between Christians and followers of Islam, we must quickly state, is not over two religions, Christianity vs. Islam. Nor is it over two books, the Bible vs. the Koran. Nor is it about two personalities, Christ vs. Mohammed.
Rather, the tension is between Christ and the Qur’an. Why is that?
It’s because most Muslims believe the Qur’an—every single page with every one of its Arabic words—is an incarnation of Allah himself. For them, the Qur’an reigns supreme because it is the only thing in this world that is truly and thoroughly divine. Thus, it is to be honored and obeyed as perfectly as possible, in the hope that one’s faithful deeds will ultimately outweigh one’s sins when the final judgment rolls around.
The New Testament message, however, is radically different. It is about freely receiving a sin-cleansing salvation brought to us by grace alone from the living God who—while we are totally lost and powerless to ever match his holiness—in love has invaded us, coming to us, doing so as one of us in order to rescue us.
This invasion from Heaven is not simply in the form of authoritative Arabic words inscribed on paper. This invader comes to take charge as a genuine, living, breathing human being. Furthermore, the One who shows up is not passive like some sacred book lying mute on a coffee table. Rather, Jesus is God himself among us, permanently united to us, taking strategic action for us, to reveal God’s glory to us and liberate us.
Bringing us this gift of eternal life, fully accessible to all who believe it and receive it, requires nothing less than a God-orchestrated invasion—one that is even greater than the game-changing, history-making landing of allied troops in Normandy on D-Day during World War II. Only Jesus did it for the “joy set before him” (Hebrews 12)—which is US.
To sum up, here are SEVEN powerful insights the Bible gives us into this grand invasion of the Incarnation (All seven are explored in depth in my new book, Christ Is NOW!):
- The entirety of the Deity deliberately took on frailty for us—this was God irreversibly invading the human race as one of us.
- To carry out the full work of our redemption—crucifixion, resurrection, ascension—God’s Son had to first “empty himself” and become permanently united to us as one of us.
- Because Jesus became inseparably one of us, incarnated as the first and only God-man, his incomparable invasion proves once and for all that God’s commitment to us is everlasting, never to be rescinded.
- In naked compassion, lying in that manger, God’s Son came among us to engage our low and lost estate on the most personal and intimate level possible.
- Jesus’ incarnation embodies and displays God’s servant heart toward us and for us, even as sinners—he invaded the very depths of our finiteness, our pain, our struggles, our darkness, and our sin.
- As one of us, now and forever bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh, our Savior defines the destiny that lies ahead for all who come to him, unite to him, are made like him, and will rise with him to live—body, soul and spirit—in the new heaven and earth.
- In the end, this invasion ends up going in TWO directions—both of which are crucial for our salvation. Paul pointed this out in Ephesians 4 (emphases added):
to the lower, earthly regions.
[an invasion] He who descended is the very one
higher than all the heavens,
[a second invasion] in order to fill the whole universe.
[the total invasion of both earth and heaven!]
Four Short Videos to Help You
Celebrate the Most Dynamic
Reason for Christmas
Below are four video clips (40-63 seconds long) that highlight in very creative images many of the reasons we have for praising our Lord Jesus Christ for what his incarnation means to us.
You’re welcome to click onto each link, maybe viewing one a day to give you four days of special worship. We hope you enjoy them! And perhaps you will think about Jesus’ incarnation differently from now on.
After viewing the video, spend some time talking with the Father about what you’ve just watched and heard and what it means to you—especially at this season of the year.
The Incarnation: This Is How Much God Loved the World
The Incarnation: Lavish and Unparalleled Selflessness
The Incarnation: The Son Added to Himself Our Humanity
The Incarnation: An Incredibly Humbling Process
Then, pass these links along to friends—Christians or non-believers alike—by email, text, Facebook post, or tweet.
Spread your celebration of the “invasion” of the Incarnation!
About the Author
Over the past 40 years, David Bryant has been defined by many as a “messenger of hope” and a “Christ proclaimer” to the Church throughout the world. Formerly a minister-at-large with the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, president of Concerts of Prayer International (COPI), and chairman of America’s National Prayer Committee, David now provides leadership to ChristNow.com and to Proclaim Hope!, whose mission is to foster and serve Christ-awakening movements. Order his widely read books at DavidBryantBooks.com.