Like it or not, it is December and we are hurtling forward into the Christmas Holidays when much of the world celebrates the incarnation of God’s Christ into the physical and finite realm of humanity. Christians believe that God Himself became flesh and blood to live among His creation. We believe that Jesus was “God with us.” But if we are going to think about God becoming flesh and walking and working among men, there’s obviously much more to it than baby Jesus in a manger.
For about thirty-three years after His birth, the world continued as it was. But when, as a man, he began his short ministry the world was never the same again. Everything changed.
It is hard to think of a world without Jesus Christ because, particularly in the Western world (but certainly not limited to it), Jesus Christ is central…especially at this time of year. Even if you use the increasingly popular “BCE” and “CE” (“Before the Common Era” and “Common Era”) to measure time, it is simply because BC (before Christ) and AD (“Anno Domini” or “Year of our Lord”) have for centuries been the way history is dated. Deity becoming human was so explosive it became the turning point of history.
The impact of the advent of Jesus into the world is immeasurable. What the world would have been without Him is imperceptible. What the world can become with Christ is yet unrealized.
Today Christians and the way of Christ face expanding challenges. The “New Atheists” are becoming combative. Islam once again rattles the scimitars of violent conquest. How will followers of the Prince of Peace respond? So far, our reaction is a mixture of rattling our own sabers and stupid, provocative acts like Quran-burning and shouting-matches.
If these challenges are successfully met, it will not be with violence, book-burnings and placard-waving demonstrations. They will be countered as they always must: by exalting Christ. It will be done by reconciling humans to each other and to their Creator. Then, and only then, will the hopeful song of angels be realized: peace on earth among men with whom God is pleased.