Why Do We Do Christmas? (Part 2)

Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (Hebrews 2:14-17 ESV). Between yesterday’s reading and today’s concluding verse is the declaration that Christ suffered because it was fitting, and Christ became like us because he was thus obliged to; it is the great description of why Christ became human. Hence this is part of the picture of how the incarnation was fitting. Each line of this passage is essential. We will see two very different reasons for Christmas. First, he became human because we are human. God’s great aim is to have a family of human children in which his eternal Son is one of them, yet supreme over them. The Apostle Paul explains it like this: “Those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” (Romans 8:29). In our reading the writer says, “He had to be made like his brothers in every respect.” (v. 17). Earlier he said, “That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers” (v. 11). This is fitting — seemly, congruent, beautiful — in God’s eyes. Remember, all of this is in spite of the truth that He is Creator. It is so incongruent with our common wisdom that is utterly God-like. Common wisdom would see this act as an incredibly devastating demotion. God saw it as fitting. This gives us a very important truth to ponder. Sometimes the journey God has ordained for us is one of seeming set-backs. We see examples of this throughout the Scripture. The entire book of Ecclesiastes speaks to the vanity of a life spent “climbing the ladder.” Our world is repulsed by that idea. If we’re not getting bigger, better, or faster then, surely that is failure. And, God’s answer to that is the Incarnation. Of course, I am not insinuating that growth of any kind is necessarily bad; however, growth for the sake of growth may not be constructive. There are those times when God’s path for us takes us in a direction that cannot be immediately seen as positive. It is at these times when we must rely on His promise to work all things for our good. Even the most devastating of set-backs are merely steps for God to take us closer to perfection and glory. As the Christmas Season begins in earnest, reflect on your journey. Thanks God for all of it. It is meant for your good and he watches over all of...

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