The Comfort of the Incarnation

pxhere.com

Craig Hamilton begins a new miniseries on the coming of Christ


Christmas is a time of mixed emotions for a lot of people. It’s great because we remember Jesus coming into the world, we eat food, give and receive presents, spend time with people that we love, and we get the chance to break out the fancy plates.

But at the same time Christmas can also be a challenging season. At Christmas the pace of life just increases and you were already stressed out before it got even busier. You spend money you don’t really have to buy stuff for people you don’t even really like but where you feel as though you’re obligated to. Or maybe you’re bouncing between two or three different parents’ houses—and it used to be you used to all do it together at one house, but now it feels like each year more and more people in your family hate each other and it just gets harder and harder. Or maybe there’s an empty chair at your Christmas table that used to be filled with someone you cared about but, for whatever reason, they’re not around anymore.

For some of us Christmas isn’t just for normal anxiety; Christmas is where we get out the fancy anxiety.

For some of us Christmas isn’t just for normal anxiety; Christmas is where we get out the fancy anxiety.

Christmas Comfort

Christmas can be hard because life can be hard. But there are lots of things to do with Christmas that can help us and comfort us. Jesus has come into our world and has become a human just like us. Having become a human just like us, Hebrews explains, this means he can also be our High Priest.

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)

Even though our high priest is great and has passed through the heavens, this doesn’t mean that he is removed from us or doesn’t understand our life and struggles. He understands our life and our weaknesses. The term ‘weaknesses’ here is a broad term that can include physical weakness and illness as well as moral weakness, and both are probably in the writer’s mind. But it is the weakness of temptation that the writer zeroes-in on. Jesus knows what it’s like to be tempted and so is able to sympathize with the struggles we go through.

From the Inside

He knows what it’s like to be us. And he knows it from the inside. Jesus didn’t just dip his toe into our world—the world marked by corruption and rebellion—he entered all the way in. God sent his Son into a world of rebellion and corruption; a world enslaved under the power of sin. And the Son willingly became a part of it—without ever, and in no way, succumbing to rebellion or sin himself.

He’s not uncaring. He knows what it’s like to be here and to go through what we go through. It’s one thing to be up in heaven sitting around in comfort, being constantly praised, having everyone do what you say; having friends who would do anything for you; where everything’s always two thumbs up.

But it’s another thing to leave that behind for a bit and come here and be a real human just like us—and to experience life and the world like we experience it.

So, if you’ve ever …

  • been tempted;
  • had money issues;
  • been ripped off;
  • been lonely;
  • been afraid;
  • been made fun of;
  • had a family that doesn’t support you;
  • had friends that aren’t there for you when you need them;
  • had friends talk about you behind your back;
  • had lies and rumours spread about you;
  • been lonely;
  • had someone close die and been in mourning;
  • needed courage

… then Jesus knows what it’s like. He’s not unsympathetic.

He didn’t spend all his time in a hermetically sealed, cotton wool, positive reinforcement, temperature controlled, emotionally supportive, low GI, team bonding, group hugging, high fiving, fan-fairy-tastic kind of environment. He came to live here. He came to live where we do. He came here where everything breaks, where nothing lasts, where everything that’s beautiful gets ugly, and where everything precious dies. Jesus knows what it’s like.

He came to live here. He came to live where we do. He came here where everything breaks, where nothing lasts, where everything that’s beautiful gets ugly, and where everything precious dies. Jesus knows what it’s like.

He knows what it’s like to live a real human life. He walked through all the issues that we walk through—experienced them all, but never tripped over them. Perfect score. He encountered them and dealt with them like they should be dealt with.

Which means there’s comfort in Christmas. You can come to Jesus and be completely certain; first, that he knows what it’s like and he knows how it feels; and, second, that he can help you to navigate through life successfully.

Jesus knows what he’s talking about because he’s God and he’s God with us and one of us.


See more on the Incarnation in Craig Hamilton’s recent book Made Man

Share
LOAD MORE
Loading