Four Reasons Christmas Is Special

Audio Transcript

Good morning on this Christmas Day. We’re honored to share this holiday together with you. And for you, Pastor John, on such a day, I actually have no question for you. I want to clear the decks and let you take it from here, to share front-burner thoughts with us. What’s on your mind as you think about Scripture and meditate on such a glorious day like today?

On this Christmas Day, what I would like to do is to try and help you, all our listeners, to marvel at the coming of the eternal Son of God into the world. I want to help you marvel today. Jesus is coming back to this earth, the Bible says, “to be marveled at among all who have believed” (2 Thessalonians 1:10). That’s his destiny — to be marveled at by millions on that day.

And Christmas is a great day for rehearsing what it will be like to marvel at Jesus on that day — because Christmas rivets our attention on four stupendous realities, which, if we see them for what they really are, will cause our hearts to marvel at

  1. the mysterious greatness of God, who was simply there before there was anything else,
  2. the fact that this infinite, eternal Creator entered his creation as the God-man, Jesus Christ,
  3. the happy reason for why he came to creation, a creation in high treason against him, and
  4. the boundless joy offered to all because of what Jesus did when he came.

Let’s take these four realities one at a time and see if we can awaken in our souls Christmas marveling, last-day marveling in advance.

1. God is and always was.

The first Christmas marvel is the mysterious greatness of God, who was simply there before there was anything else. When God commissioned Moses in Exodus 3:14 to tell the people of Israel who had sent him, God said, “I Am Who I Am. . . . Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I Am has sent me to you.’” What does that mean?

It means that the God of the Bible, the God over all history and all reality, simply is and always was. He is absolute reality: “I am who I am. I simply am.” He had no beginning; he will have no ending. There was no reality before him; there is no reality outside him unless he wills it and creates it. Before creation, he is all that was: no space, no universe, no emptiness, no dark, no cold and endless vastness — only God. God was and is absolute reality. All else, from galaxies to subatomic particles, is secondary.

We tend to think that the material universe, with all its vastness, is the main reality. It’s not. It’s secondary — secondary at the most. God is reality. He carries the universe, so to speak, like a peanut in his pocket. Everything that the James Webb Space Telescope or the electron microscope shows us is as nothing compared to God. Let this sink in, because if we don’t start with this staggering reality and marvel, nothing else will have the wonder that it should. Nothing else will be marvelous the way it should be.

2. The Creator entered creation.

The second Christmas marvel is the wonder that this infinite, eternal Creator entered his creation in the person of Jesus — truly man, truly God. Jesus said to the Pharisees, “Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” They responded, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” And Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:56–58).

You’re kidding me. “Before Abraham was, I am.” He could have said, “Before Abraham was, I was.” That would have been spectacular enough. But he didn’t. He said, “Before Abraham was, I am,” because he is the great “I Am” of Exodus 3:14, very God of very God, absolute being in the flesh. “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17) — absolute being. I Am Who I Am “became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

This has happened by a divine conception in the womb of a virgin, Mary. She was staggered at the news and said, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy — the Son of God” (Luke 1:34–35). “Before Abraham was, I am.” At Christmas, I Am Who I Am became a man.

3. Jesus came to die and to save.

The third Christmas marvel is the unspeakably happy reason for why he came into this creation in high treason against him. Why did he enter the very creation that regarded him so lightly — indeed, with such dishonor? Here’s the simplicity and beauty and glory of Paul’s simple, straightforward answer: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15). Or the words of Jesus himself: “The Son of Man came . . . to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

How can that be? God can’t die. But the God-man can die. So, Hebrews 2:14–15 says he took on a human nature “that through death” — because you can’t die if you don’t have the right nature to die. He took on a human nature “that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death . . . and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” The great I Am Who I Am came into the world, into this rebellious creation, to die and to save.

4. Christmas is for everyone.

Finally, the fourth Christmas marvel is that the gift of the Christmas incarnation is for everyone.

  • “Everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name” (Acts 10:43).
  • “Whoever hears [Jesus’s] word and believes him who sent [Jesus] . . . does not come into judgment” (John 5:24).
  • “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life” (John 3:36).
  • “[He] died for us so that . . . we might live with him” (1 Thessalonians 5:10).

That is, so that we might live with the inexhaustibly satisfying, great I Am forever and ever, in whose presence “is fullness of joy” and at whose “right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).

Oh, let us marvel together on this Christmas Day that the great and only God simply is: “I Am Who I Am.” That this I Am became the God-man Jesus Christ. That he came not to destroy, but to save his treasonous creatures. And that by faith in him, our sins are forgiven, and our judgment is passed. We will live forever in the presence of this infinite, kind, all-satisfying I Am. May I wish you this kind of Merry Christmas.

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