The most well known aspect of what has come to be known as the Christmas Story - that being the birth of Christ in Bethlehem - is just that - well known. Less understood is a wider revelation that was brought to us by the Incarnation, the Embodiment. Let’s begin at a place not usually thought of as a beginning for the Christmas Story.
In Mark 12, Jesus is challenged by a scribe of the Hebrew canon at that time, an expert in the field. The challenge to Jesus, ‘What is the first commandment of all?’ (verse 28). In other words, which commandment ranks first, not chronologically, but in order of priority?
Jesus doesn’t even go to the Ten Commandments. He heads straight to Deuteronomy 6:4.
‘…The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord…’ (verse 29). Jesus is that baby from that manger, now all grown up. The One conceived of the Holy Ghost in the womb of Mary. And now we begin to see in the Christmas Story not only the baby who was the redemption of man, but the God who is that baby.
Isaiah 9:6 ‘For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. This baby was a Father at the moment of birth, the everlasting Father. This baby was the mighty God. Not merely sent by God, but that God Himself robed in flesh.
The Lord God claims solo work as the Savior of humanity, as in Is. 43:11 “I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour.’ Yet Jesus has the same claim, as Luke states, ‘For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:11). The only resolution of these two statements is God didn’t just send his Son, He became that Son, that Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world.
Christmas is not only the story of the Savior, but a revelation of who was that Savior. Not just a good man or prophet sent by God. Not just some divine agent sent from heaven. John says it very well, ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth’ (John 1:1,14).
Not the only thing surely, but the first thing to remember about Christmas is this, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: (Deut. 6:4)