Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Thursday prior to Christmas 1


Galatians 4:4-7 – At the right time God sent His Son that we might become sons and daughters of God. 

What is the real significance of Christmas?  How is your life affected by the birth of Christ? Your whole status with God depends on the one who has entered our world. Paul explains, “But when the fullness of the time came.“(v. 4a). The word Paul describes as “fullness” suggests a basket that is full. But here it has the sense of completeness or the right time. The Lord’s timing is always right.

This son was God’s Son from the beginning. He “was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him. Without him was not anything made that has been made…. (And) the Word became flesh and lived among us. We saw his glory, such glory as of the one and only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth…. From his fullness we have all received grace upon grace” (John 1:2-3, 14, 16).

Paul’s most explicit picture of God’s sending his Son is found in his letter to the Philippians. “Have this in your mind, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, didn’t consider equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, yes, the death of the cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him, and gave to him the name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, those on earth, and those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:5-11).

Christ’s full humanity was manifested in his birth. He was “born of a woman”—not a princess or a queen, but an ordinary young woman. He was born, not in a palace, but in stable. His crib was a manger—a feeding trough for animals. He was raised, not in Jerusalem, the home of the temple, but in a small town in Galilee. The man who was to be known as his father was not a ruler, but a carpenter. Jesus could not have done more to identify with us in our humanity.

Luke had been Paul’s traveling companion, so Paul surely knew of the virgin birth. However, he doesn’t mention the virgin birth explicitly in any of his letters. We should not imagine that he rejected the idea of the virgin birth. More likely, that concept was so widely accepted that he felt no need to emphasize it.

Almighty God, grant that the birth of Your only-begotten Son in the flesh may set us free from the bondage of sin; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.[1]

[1] Christmas Collect, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

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