The Mystery of the Incarnation

David Bast

Read: Luke 2:8-18

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. (John 1:14)

St. Augustine once introduced a Christmas sermon this way: “Listen to what you know, reflect on what you have heard, love what you believe, and preach what you love. Just as we celebrate the yearly coming of this day, so you may expect the sermon that is this day’s due.”

What is the message that is this day’s due? Is it “peace on earth, goodwill toward men”? That’s part of it, sure. Is it Immanuel, “God with us”? Certainly! But it’s deeper and stranger than that. God isn’t just with us invisibly, in a spiritual sense—a lot of people believe that. Christians believe God came in the flesh. We believe that the eternal, omnipotent Creator and Ruler of the universe became a little baby, who cried and was fed, who needed to be changed, who was put to bed in a manger—all without ceasing to be God. Try to get your head around that!

We believe that Jesus made the invisible God visible. “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known” (John 1:18). We believe that Jesus came to make God known, and that knowing God is the definition of life. “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3).

So glory to God in the highest, and peace to you on this day of days. —David Bast

As you pray, reflect on what you have heard, and love what you believe.